A Forthcoming Book Flies Through Hundreds of Elizabeth Gould’s Groundbreaking Avian Illustrations

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Vulturine Guineafowl, Acryllium vulturinum, Plate 8, Icones Avium (1837–38). All images courtesy of the Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London, shared with permission

As often happens with creative couples throughout history, Elizabeth Gould’s legacy tends to be overshadowed by her husband’s. Gould (1804-1840) was an ambitious and knowledgeable artist, who, throughout her short lifetime, illustrated more than 600 avian species that ushered in significant advances in natural history. Many of the birds had previously gone undocumented, and paired with her husband John’s studies, the lithographs conveyed the true diversity within ornithology.

Now partially compiled in a celebratory tome of her life and work, 220 of Gould’s illustrations have migrated from the collections of London’s Natural History Museum to the page. Birds of the World: The Art of Elizabeth Gould spans 248 pages with full-color reproductions depicting myriad species, from a speckled vulturine guineafowl and chromatic crimson rosella to a slender-beaked glossy ibis. Written by the museum’s special collections manager Andrea Hart and zoology librarian Ann Datta, the volume contains several previously unpublished works and is organized across five continents.

Birds of the World, which is published by Prestel, is scheduled for release this fall. Pre-order your copy on Bookshop.


Glossy Ibis, Plegadis falcinellus, Plate 301, The Birds of Europe (1832–37)

Left: Crimson Rosella, Platycercus elegans, Vol. 5, Plate 22, The Birds of Australia (1840–48). Right: Narina Trogon, Apaloderma narina, Plate 26, A Monograph of the Trogonidæ, or Family of Trogons (1835–38)

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita, A Synopsis of the Birds of Australia, and the Adjacent Islands (1837–38)

Northern Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus, Plate 291, The Birds of Europe (1832–37)

Top left: Black-throated Magpie-Jay, Calocitta colliei, 1829, [No. 52], J & E Gould Drawings album, Natural
History Museum, London.  Bottom left: Eastern Shrike-tit, Falcunculus frontatus, Vol. 2, Plate 79, The Birds of Australia (1840–48). Top right: Blackbird, Turdus merula, Plate 72, The Birds of Europe (1832–37). Bottom right: Long-eared Owl, Asio otus, Plate 39, The Birds of Europe, (1832–37)

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article A Forthcoming Book Flies Through Hundreds of Elizabeth Gould’s Groundbreaking Avian Illustrations appeared first on Colossal.

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