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Books: Recommended
Other Artists and Authors

AUDUBON, John Woodhouse: The Drawings of John Woodhouse Audubon - Illustrating his Adventures through Mexico and California, 1849-1850; San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1957. Introduction and Notes on the Drawings by Carl Schaefer Dentzel.  One of 400 copies.  This is an extraordinary book including drawings and excerpts from the journal J. W. Audubon kept on this difficult western journey during the height of the California Gold Rush.  Apparently, the drawings published in this book were sent home by John upon his arrival in California and thus they survived. While in California John did many additional drawings and paintings, perhaps over a  hundred.  These he left behind  upon his return to New York in 1850.  They were eventually given to John's close friend, John Stevens, who was returning east by ship in 1857.  The drawings were lost along with Mr. Stevens when the ship, the S.S. Central America, went down in a terrible storm off the coast of South Carolina.  The story of the gold-laden Central America, currently being salvaged, is related at this website.  Perhaps some day a large cache of John Woodhouse's work will be brought up from the sea.

GOLDSMITH, Oliver: The Illustrated History of the Natural World - With 200 Full-Color Prints of the Fascinating Animal Kingdom; New York: Arch Cape Press, 1990. Originally Published 1774 as A History of the Earth and Animated Nature by Oliver Goldsmith. Illustrations originally published 1849 in Dictionnaire Universel d'Histoire Naturelle by M. Charles D'Orbigny.  Foreword by Gerald Durrell.  I like the illustrations from D'Orbigny in this book.

GOULD, John: John Gould's Birds; Secaucus, NJ: Chartwell Books, Inc. (no date, first published in the USA by A&W Publishers in 1981). With an introduction by Maureen Lambourne.  Reproduces the 367 plates of Gould's Birds of Great Britain.

GOULD, John:  John Gould's Hummingbirds - The complete renowned original edition with the 1861 supplement - 418 full-page plates in full color.  Secaucus, NJ: The Wellfleet Press, 1990.  Reproduces with only a small reduction in size all the plates of Gould's work, Monograph of the Trochilidae; also reprints the text.  A great book for a hummingbird fan, but lacks a few basics such as an index relating bird names to plate numbers, or any kind of list quickly relating common names to the scientific names.  The only way to look up a specific plate is to skim the text (included as an appendix) looking for the name, and then relate it to the plate number (which were supplied by the publisher based on Gould's handwritten notations to his own copy).

MEARNS, Barbara and Richard: John Kirk Townsend - Collector of Audubon’s Western Birds and Mammals, Mearns Books, 2007. An in-depth biography of John Kirk Townsend, a Philadelphia ornithologist whose collecting and observations in the west provided Audubon with critical specimens and information that assisted him in the completion of both The Birds of America and The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. Included is an illustrated presentation of Townsend’s Narrative of a Journey across the Rocky Mountains, to the Columbia River, and a visit to the Sandwich Islands, Chili &c (1839) including new material from Townsend’s original journal and including Audubon paintings of the specimens that Townsend collected. The authors examine Townsend’s upbringing and career, track his journey westwards, provide zoological commentary on his discoveries, and discuss his relationship with Audubon and the important contribution he made to Audubon's work.

SITWELL, Sacheverell, BUCHANAN, Handasyde and FISHER, James: Fine Bird Books: 1700 - 1900; New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990 (First published in 1953).  A classic in its field, this book includes both an overview of the major bird books of the period and a detailed bibliography.  A valuable reference.

SOTHEBY'S: The Library of H. Bradley Martin, Part II - Magnificent Color-Plate Ornithology. New York: Sotheby's. Sale of June 7, 1989.  An excellent general reference describing the contents of an ornithological library of remarkable breadth and depth.  From the catalogue:  "It can be taken for granted that almost every book of importance dealing with birds will be found in this and [the other Bradley Martin] sale catalogues."

SOTHEBY'S: The Library of H. Bradley Martin, Part III - The Original Watercolors for Selby's Illustrations of British Ornithology; New York: Sotheby's. Sale of June 8, 1989.  A beautifully illustrated catalogue of the original paintings for this famous British series of engravings of mostly life-sized birds.  With a biographical essay by Christine E. Jackson, author of Bird Etchings: The Illustrators and Their Books, 1655-1855, describing Selby's approach to his work and his relationships with others active in ornithology.  A valuable reference for anyone interested in this artist's work.