1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

In spite of his father’s help in setting him up in a lucrative career in lead mining, John James Audubon’s (1785-1851) true professional calling didn’t come to fruition until 1826, when he was a 41-year-old family man with two living children. Audubon was fortunate to have a family who not only supported him in business, but his artistic talents were also encouraged and nurtured by his parents and his understanding wife. Audubon spent many months and years on numerous trips to draw and document the birds of America. He availed himself to art lessons and new painting techniques in addition to taxidermy and preservation skills to stage the species as models for his drawings. Many times he’d earn money by drawing portraits or landscapes for wealthy families while he was on his travels. His very supportive wife, Lucy Bakewell Audubon, was a trained teacher, and she “took on” students to bring in money during her husband’s explorations.

Over the years, Audubon destroyed many of his earlier drawings as he advanced his skills in documenting birds, but, finally, in 1824 he had over 300 drawings collected, returning to Philadelphia to seek a publisher for his art. Being rebuffed by the scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, he couldn’t find a publisher. In 1826, with his collection in tow, he sailed from New Orleans to Liverpool, England in search of a publisher. The British couldn’t get enough of his images of “backwoods America and its natural attractions,” and were “met with great acceptance.” He soon raised enough money to begin publishing his now 435 hand-colored, life-size prints made from engraved copper plates. They were printed on double elephant sheets measuring 39” x 26”, making for a huge folio. This highly successful initial edition of Birds of America was engraved in aquatint by Robert Havel, Jr.

Following the success of Birds of America, Audubon decided to issue a smaller version that would be more accessible to the public and would include additional, newly-discovered species. This second bird folio would be on 1/8 the size of paper as the larger Birds of America, with prints measuring 6 ½” x 10 ½”. He called this new endeavor The Royal Octavo Edition of Birds of America, comprising 500 black-line lithographed and hand-colored plates by J. T. Bowen, published in 100 sets of 5 each between 1840-1844. They were sold as a subscription, which when completed filled seven volumes for the subscriber to study. Around 1200 complete subscriber sets were published during this time. John Audubon personally oversaw the publication of this first edition, serving as his own publisher.

The print that we offer is from Audubon’s First Royal Octavo Edition. It is professionally framed and matted, ready to hang. The frame measures 20 ½” x 15 ½” with the view of the double-matted print measuring 8 ¾” x 6”; there is a mustard accent between the two mats. This rare horizonal print from the Royal Octavo Edition is Plate 275, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. Even though it is behind glass, the hand coloring of this black-line lithograph is very crisp and precise. At the top left is No. 55, which indicates that this was printed for the 55th subscriber. At the bottom left it states: Drawn from Nature by J. J, Audubon, FRSFLS, which indicates that he was a Fellow, Royal Society, Fellow Linnaean Society. Bottom right: Lith’d Printed & Col’d by J. T. Bowen, Phil. At the bottom, just above the bird identification are the initials W. H., indicating who actually traced the drawing onto the lithograph stone for the black line print. The print is in excellent condition with no tears or spots. This is a real treasure. The frame has a couple of light rubs on it.

Also included with this print are pages 293-298 from the volume that the print was in. These six pages fully describe the yellow-billed cuckoo and Audubon’s personal comments in the collection of the information about the bird.

Audubon only lived long enough to oversee this project. There were several other octavo editions that were mainly supervised by Audubon’s son, but prints in subsequent editions were done with tinted lithographic-wash backgrounds, and the lettering was in block instead of italics.

We do have an identically framed and matted Royal Octavo print, Key West Dove, that would make a wonderful companion to this one.
We also have listed for sale in our shop two unframed prints from the 1st Royal Octavo edition, Wood Ducks and Carolina Parrots.

These prints have been in demand by discriminating decorators for generations, and this would be a fabulous addition to any collection or décor. Please contact us if you have any questions. Please look at the photos closely, they are part of the description of the item. We will always consider any reasonable offer for our pieces.

Because of a court ruling, Ruby Lane is having to collect sales tax from buyers who live in states that impose a sales tax.

Remember, even if you do not have a PayPal account, you may pay with your credit card through PayPal. If paying by personal check, the item will be shipped as soon as the check clears the bank. However, on international sales, please pay via PayPal; also we cannot anticipate what your customs fees may be. So you may be charged customs or duties by you home country.

We estimate shipping/handling costs on the high side and will gladly refund the overage to you if you pay by PayPal. Alternate shipping fees may be checked out in the drop down shipping box to the right of the listing.

ITEM ID
JERO-ART-audcuckoo
AGE
Early 19th Century
THEME
Birds
MEDIA
Watercolor
ARTIST
John James Audubon
ORIGIN
United States • American
ITEM TYPE
Antique

1840s Audubon Framed 1st Royal Octavo Edition Hand Colored Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

$499 REDUCED


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