"Purple Finch Plate IV" by John Audubon (1785-1851)
original stippled engraving printed by WH Lizars Edin. from original drawing by John Audubon
Elephant folio from The Birds of America
plate size (plate lines visible): 12 1/4" x 20 1/4"
mat opening: 14 1/2" x 22"
overall frame size: 30" x 43"
gold leaf frame, french double mat with patterned insert
The Birds of America is the title of a book by naturalist and painter John James Audubon, containing paintings and scientific description of a wide variety of birds of the United States. It was first published as a series of sections between 1827 and 1838.
The work consists of 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species made from engraved plates measuring around 39 by 26 inches. The work contains just over 700 North American bird species.
The original edition was engraved in aquatint by Robert Havell Sr. and son, Robert Havell Jr.; known as the "Double Elephant folio", it is often regarded as the greatest picture book ever produced. A copy in excellent condition sold at Christie's in March of 2000 for $8,802,500, is still a world record for any printed book.