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Title:
Cut-paper featherwork illustrations of birds.
Published/Created:
Great Britain, 1830s?
Physical Description:
6 paper trays ; in box 23 x 19 x 7 cm
Holdings:
Rare Books and Manuscripts
QL674.4 .C88 1865 Flat
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
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Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Classification:
Three-Dimensional Artifacts
Notes:
Set of six compositions of cut-paper featherwork birds, on paper trays, based on illustrations in early-19th century ornithological works. The creator is unidentified, and all of the items are undated, but the compositions may have been made as early as the 1830s, by which time all of the source illustrations had been published. Each of the pieces is comprised of intricately cut paper, meticulously hand colored and given a slight three-dimensional form by a judicious padding of the bird bodies. Tail feathers are imitated with fine, dense cuts of the paper. The bodies of the birds are given further realistic texture by way of a dense array of bumps, probably created by the pricks of a pin. Each bird design is mounted is a series of six paper trays, variously sized from 170 x 210 mm to 110 x 160 mm. The surface of each tray is adorned with watercolor illustrations of tree limbs or stretches of ground, to establish a natural setting for each bird.
Tray 1: Gould's, Bar-tailed, and Black-capped humming birds. This composition of three hummingbirds is derived from illustrations in William Jardine's The natural history of humming-birds ... Edinburgh : W.H. Lizars, 1833-1834 (from Jardine's series, The naturalist's library). “Gould's” hummingbird is copied from plate 12, Trochilus gouldii. The “Bar-tailed” hummingbird is copied from plate 23, Trochilus sparganurus. The “Black-capped” hummingbird is copied from plate 21, Trochilus polytmus.
Tray 2: Ostrich. The source of this illustration is not yet identified.
Tray 3: Painted bunting. The image appeared in: Portraits of rare and curious birds, with their descriptions : from the menagery of Osterly Park, in the county of Middlesex, by William Hayes. London : Printed by W. Bulmer and Co., and published for the author by R. Faulder, 1794-1799.
Tray 4: Buzzard. It's unclear whether this image was copied from an English source. The image is known to have appeared in Le Buffon de la jeunesse, a work published in a number of editions in the mid-19th century.
Tray 5: Pennantian broad-tailed parrot. The image appeared in: The natural history of parrots, by Prideaux J. Selby. Edinburgh : W. H. Lizars, 1836 (also from The naturalist's library series.) The original illustration, appearing as plate 25, was drawn by Edward Lear.
Tray 6: Common crane. The image appeared in vol. XI, part 2 of: General zoology, or, Systematic natural history, by George Shaw. London : G. Kearsley, 1800-1826. The original illustration by Mrs. Griffiths.
A description of how to make similarly constructed pictures of birds, but with natural feathers, is given in: Elegant arts for ladies (London : Ward and Lock, 1861).
Of green leaf, bird, and flower: artists' books and the natural world, p. 52
Exhibition History:
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" Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower " : Artists' Books and the Natural World (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-05-15 - 2014-08-10)

Subject Terms:
Birds -- Pictorial works.
Gould, John, 1804-1881.
Ornithology -- Great Britain.
Women in natural history.
Form/Genre:
Cut-paper works.
Featherwork.
Watercolors -- 1830-1839.
Contributors:
Jardine, William, 1784-1843. Natural history of humming-birds.
Hayes, W. (William), 1729-1799. Portraits of rare and curious birds, with their descriptions.
Selby, Prideaux John, 1788-1867. Natural history of parrots.
Shaw, George, 1751-1813. General zoology.
Lear, Edward, 1812-1888, illustrator.
Griffiths, Mrs., illustrator.
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