This beautiful Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions presents James Audubon's The Birds of America in all its radiant splendor. The most famous book about North American birds appears here in an affordable version with exquisite color reproductions that truly do it justice.
Birds of America (Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions)by Audubon James John, David Allen Sibley (Introduction)
John James Audubon's paintings and descriptions of the birds of North America remain the gold standard against which all ornithological portraits are judged. His landmark work, Birds of America (1838), consisted of 435 life-size prints that were published in batches of five over the course of thirteen years. Because the prints were extremely large and had to be hand-colored by a team of painters, the cost of creating the original sets was exorbitant. Today, complete copies are rare—the last to be sold commanded approximately $11.5 million in a December 2010 auction, making it the most expensive book ever.
The exquisitely preserved, complete set of prints from which this slip-cased facsimile edition was created is part of the permanent collection of the Natural History Museum of London. The images were captured using state-of-the-art digital scanning techniques to preserve the intricate detail and vibrant colors of Audubon's original work. It's a stunning book—and a reminder to us of the importance of preserving these lovely creatures and their natural habitats.
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This volume is tremendous in print quality and color. Printed on non-glossy paper (as was the original Double Elephant Folio) it is the best modern edition that I have seen. The ink colors are deep and rich--like Audubon's original work. It is true to the original print order of the DEF Havell Edition and sizes the prints as best as is possible to maximize the image size on paper. The binding seems to be of a good quality. The book's cover and slip case are covered with heavy cloth. Clearly, however, only time will tell regarding how well this edition will stand-up to use (at the time of this review the volume was published only four months ago). The Natural History Museum was clearly interested in publishing a high quality set of Audubon prints. If you are interested in studying Audubon's work this is the book. I would have liked to see some statement in the book regarding the paper quality in regards to acid content and archival quality. I have quite a few books that have yellowed in my lifetime. Hopefully this one will not.