Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
Flora: silky camelia, or Virginia Stewartia, Stewartia Malachodendron
Print size: 26 1/4" x 39 1/4"; image size: 19 1/2" x 24 1/2"
Princeton Audubon Limited Edition - produced 1985
Probably painted about 1825 in Louisiana. The pair of birds at bottom was apparently done first, since the limb on which the topmost bird sits is not connected to the branch on which its mate is perched.
In this painting Audubon attempted, as he wrote, to give "a faithful representation of two as gentle pairs of Turtles [doves] as ever cooed their loves in the green woods. I have placed them on a branch of Stuartia, which you see ornamented with a profusion of white blossoms, emblematic of purity and chastity."
Though this bird was known to Audubon as the Carolina turtle dove, its modern name is much more appropriate, for it is found throughout the United Sates and its call suggests hopeless sorrow. This abundant and widespread bird is equally at home in suburbs and farmlands, and the sharp whistling of its wings as it takes flight is as familiar as its mournful call.
Princeton Audubon prints are direct-camera facsimile lithographs of the Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878) engravings for The Birds of America (1827-38). Princeton's Double elephant Folio prints are issued in limited editions of 500 or 1500 prints. All are numbered and have a seal in the bottom margin to demonstrate their authenticity.
Printed on heavy Mohawk paper that is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives, the paper is specially toned to match the average paper color of the antique originals.