antique prints, maps and watercolors

(Owl and Swallow) Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Titian Peale, Alexander Wilson. American Ornithology…Philadelphia 1825-33. $595.00

click for detailed image WilsonOwl.JPG

"Fulvous or Cliff Swallow, Burrowing Owl"

An original hand colored engraving included as an illustration in American Ornithology, after Alexander Wilson by Charles Lucien Bonaparte. Buonaparte was a nephew of Napoleon and a well-known and highly respected scientist/naturalist. While living with his exiled uncle Joseph Bonaparte on his estate in New Jersey, Charles began work on an expansion of Alexander Wilson’s renowned American Ornithology with the objective of including birds that Wilson had not included before his death in 1813. Bonaparte wrote the text for American Ornithology not included by Wilson, and for his illustrations he chose the most skillful artists he could find including Titian Ramsey Peale (famous Philadelphia Peale family of painters), Alexander Rider, a noted Philadelphia artist and the sketch for one plate was created by John James Audubon. Alexander Lawson engraved each of the illustrated plates included in this work and Alexander Rider was responsible for the detailed and delicate hand coloring. In a work originally comprising 27 copperplate engravings, Bonaparte added many bird species not treated in Wilson’s work, thus considerably increasing early 19th century knowledge of American ornithology. This work had quite an influence on other ornithologists including Bonaparte’s contemporary, John James Audubon who was inspired to conceive and create his magnus opus The Birds of America.
Wonderful original engraving. This is the most important work on American ornithology before Audubon.

15 x 11.5 inches sheet.
Hand colored engraving.
Excellent condition.