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Audubon: A Tradition

John James Audubon - Virginian Partridge (Northern Bobwhite) under attack by a young red-shouldered hawk. Plate 76 from Birds of America by John James Audubon (Havell Edition). Restored 2008 by (click photo for larger image)John James Audubon - American Stork - 1827-28 - Watercolour, 60 x 47 cm - National Audubon Society, New York (click photo for larger image)West Indian born John James Audubon (1785-1851) was an American naturalist and traveller, who studied in Paris under the great Neoclassical painter, Jacques-Louis David, before going to America in 1803.

Audubon’s most famous works are the illustrations for The Birds of America (1827-38), the original drawings for which are in New York (Historical Society), and The Quadrupeds of North America (1845-48). There are oils and watercolors also held in the collection of Liverpool University.

Audubon's influence on ornithology and natural history was far reaching. Nearly all later ornithological works were inspired by his artistry and high standards--although we would not approve of some of his practices today. Birds of America is still regarded a a premiere example of book art. Audubon discovered twenty-five new species and twelve new subspecies.

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