PAIR of hand colored lithographs of two species of hummingbirds, Chlorostilbon portmanni and Cyanomia violiceps, drawn by the famous 19th century English naturalist, ornithologist and natural history illustrator JOHN GOULD (1804-1881). Gould's prints of hummingbirds are most likely his most popular, but over a period of many years, especially in the 1830's and 1840's, he produced a number of major works on the birds of various geographic regions of the world, such as Europe, the Himalayas, and Australia. Gould's observations of birds collected by Darwin led to the latter's theories on evolution. Gould was a taxidermist, professional gardener and zoological curator in the course of his long career, and he prospered greatly from the sale of the lithographs of birds. These examples, measuring 21 3/4" by 14 1/4" plus narrow strip frames, are hand colored. This hand coloring includes the distinctive use of gum arabic which tends to give the feathers of the birds a richness, three dimensionality, and IRIDESCENCE in several places. The prints are in generally very good condition. The paper is slightly toned and there is some very light foxing, consistent with being 150 years old.
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