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John Gould Rare Books

John Gould was not only one of the most distinguished ornithologist of the nineteenth century, he was also a brilliant artist and highly skilled publisher. Over a period of fifty years he brought these energies together, dominated the field of ornithological discovery, and produced folio works of unrivalled beauty and scholarship.

Each work he conceived, researched (often by extensive travel in hazardous conditions) and wrote. For the lithographic plates he composed the subjects, did rough drawings of great perception, and personally supervised the completion of the plate by his wife and other artists. And not least, having brought the work into being, he subscribed, distributes, and sold the copies to the most discriminating audience of the day - from royalty to the leading natural history institutions and scholars in Great Britain, Europe, America, and Australia.


‘All ornithologists are not artists. Many artists are not successful businessmen. In the field of natural history the accomplishments of this man in his 76 years of life from 1804 to 1881 are truly monumental. No other ornithologist has ever exceeded (or will ever exceed) the number of Gould’s bird discoveries and the magnitude and
splendour of his folio publications’ (Gordon Sauer, John Gould the bird man).

 

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