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Title:
Album of watercolors of British birds.
Physical Description:
1 album (94 drawings) : watercolor ; 20 x 33 cm.
Holdings:
Rare Books and Manuscripts
Folio A 2011 39
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Information
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Notes:
Album of original watercolors of British birds, by an unidentified artist, circa 1820-1830. All 94 drawings are finished in watercolor over pen and black ink. They are drawn two-to-a-page, on 47 leaves, on thin wove card (a few leaves with 'Bristol Board' blindstamp). The majority of the drawings are accompanied by small vermillion paper labels with the common names and the Latin binomials of each bird written in pen and ink by a single hand; one drawing also bears a faint pencil inscription: "Partridge shot in Ireland by Mr. Curtis." All drawings are unsigned and undated; the paper bears watermarks from 1823 to 1829.
This well executed series concentrates on British ducks (27 drawings), waders and other water birds (28 drawings), as well as owls and birds of prey (10 drawings) and various game birds. The images are clearly executed by a single gifted but unidentified hand and are probably worked from taxidermied specimens or skins: very careful attention is paid to the coloring and texture of the plumage, while the backgrounds are kept to a minimum, which allows for attention to be focused on the birds themselves.
The small labels that identify the majority of the subjects follow the scientific convention established by a series of distinguished ornithologists, starting with George Edwards (1694-1773), continued by Edward Donovan (1768-1837), and most notably popularized in the mid-19th century by F.O. Morris (1810-1893).
Bound in early 20th-century black half morocco over green sand-grained cloth, by William Rodman and Co. of Belfast, the flat spine divided into four compartments by double gilt fillets, the foot of spine with ownership initials "B.W.W." in gilt.
Of green leaf, bird, and flower: artists' books and the natural world, p. 160
Selected exhibitions: “'Of Green Leaf, Bird, and Flower': Artists' Books and the Natural World" (Yale Center for British Art, May 15 - August 10, 2014).
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 -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Ducks -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Owls -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Water birds -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
William Rodman and Co. -- Binder.
Form/Genre:
Ornithological illustrations.
Watercolors -- 1820-1830.
Ink drawings -- 1820-1830.
Albums.
Sketchbooks.
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