7.5 x 6 x 2 inches
Resin appliqué on a taffeta lined synthetic handbag.
John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), Havell plate no. 431, (detail) 1838
The New-York Historical Society's Audubon collection is the largest single repository of Auduboniana in the world. The jewel in this crown are 435 watercolors preparatory for 433 of the 435 plates (no watercolors for plates 84 and 155 are known to exist) of the sumptuous, double-elephant folio sized The Birds of America (1827-38). Plates for this edition were begun by William Home Lizars (1788-1859) and engraved and etched by Robert Havell, Jr. (1793-1878). The complex genesis of The Birds of America was a fascinating saga of collaboration and entrepreneurship as well as a great love story. The transatlantic project was an ambitious affair, involving Audubon's entire nuclear and extended family, as well as that of his talented London engraver Havell.