Birds: The Art of Ornithology

Overview

This breathtaking collection of important and beautiful ornithological art from London’s Natural History Museum traces its development from the Renaissance through the scientific approach favored in the Age of Exploration. Included are brilliantly reproduced artworks by the world’s great naturalists and scientists such as Audubon and Humboldt, along with the legion of Victorian explorers who catalogued the world’s avifauna before photography finally prevailed as the primary means of recording the natural world. ...
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Overview

This breathtaking collection of important and beautiful ornithological art from London’s Natural History Museum traces its development from the Renaissance through the scientific approach favored in the Age of Exploration. Included are brilliantly reproduced artworks by the world’s great naturalists and scientists such as Audubon and Humboldt, along with the legion of Victorian explorers who catalogued the world’s avifauna before photography finally prevailed as the primary means of recording the natural world. The lively and informative text tells how ornithological art grew out of the naturalistic tradition of European painting to become a genre of its own where the artist’s focus on aesthetics was married to the scientist’s need for precision and detail. Weaving together science, art history, biography, and travel, it paints a wondrous picture of a bygone world of artist-scientists, exotic birds, and faraway lands, making it truly the perfect gift for anyone who loves vintage prints and drawings or has an interest in nature or birding.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you are someone who combines an appreciation of art with an enjoyment of wild birds, you will find this book sweet." ~Maine Antique Digest

"If your knowledge of bird art is limited to Audubon, Sibley and Peterson, the parade of characters who walk across its pages will be a revelation." ~The New York Times

"...any birder or artist would enjoy this book as an inexpensive gift with the holidays coming up, and the volume will surely fit snugly into a Christmas stocking." ~10000birds.com

Library Journal
This enjoyable read weaves parallel themes of art, science, and bird-watching into a survey of ornithological art from early representations in the mid-1600s to the present day. Elphick, a popular British writer, broadcaster, and zoologist, details the evolution of the form, from Sarah Stone's fanciful illustrations to the observational images of Dr. Ferdinand Lucas Bauer, and also considers the development of different media, such as watercolors, woodcuts, engravings, etching techniques, and lithography. He also includes biographical sketches for such significant bird artists as the English painter Edward Lear and the famous American John James Audubon, whose dramatic Birds of America transcends the ornithological. The book is divided chronologically into four segments: "Engravers & Explorers 1600-1800," "Audubon to the First Lithographers 1800-1850," "The Golden Age of Lithography 1850-1890," and "An Age of Transition 1890-Today." Each chapter provides a textual summary followed by a series of lavish color plates (300 total) drawn from the repository of images in London's Natural History Museum. Patrons looking for further reading on the subject may wish to consult last year's beautiful and informative Audubon's Elephant by Duff Hart-Davis. Recommended for natural history, museum, and large public library collections.-Ellen Bates, New York Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847831340
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 5/13/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Elphick

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