antique prints, maps and watercolors

Plate 457. (Shearwater) The Birds of America. Philadelphia: (1856) $150.00

Plate 475. "Manks Shearwater"

John James Audubon is renowned for his elephant folio work entitled Birds of America depicting all North American birds then known. It was a huge financial and time consuming enterprise based upon Audubon's watercolors that were engraved and hand colored by Robert Havell. It is widely regarded as containing the finest bird engravings ever produced. The great size and complicated printing methods used to create the original prints meant that they were costly even at the time of publication and a very limited number were produced. In response to popular demand, Audubon issued a smaller format edition of the work, known as the royal octavo edition (a reference to the paper size) that was affordable by a wider portion of the population. At the time of its publication a complete set of the royal octavo edition could be purchased for $100. Current prices range from $30,000 to $125,000 based upon edition, condition and venue.



The Manks Shearwater birds are monogamous. They produce only one egg and are believed to live amazingly long lives with some recorded to have lived over 50 years!

Hand colored lithograph.
10 ½ x 6 ¾ inches sheet.
Excellent condition.