We are delighted to offer these superb ORIGINAL
hand-colored lithographs from The Birds of Australia,
published from 1849-1883. John Gould is widely regarded
as the father of Australian ornithology, and The Birds
of Australia vies with The Birds of Great Britain for
the title of the greatest of his eighteen major works.
It depicts all the 681 bird varieties then known in
Australia—many of them first recorded by Gould himself.
Of the seven-volume work, 250 sets were printed, with an
initial subscription of 160 later rising to 250, with
the edition almost fully subscribed despite the high
price of £115 per set. A complete set of this work set
sold in 1989 for $495,000.
In May of 1838, Gould embarked to Australia to begin
this monumental endeavor in the company of his wife
Elizabeth, their eldest child Henry, the collector John
Gilbert, a nephew and two servants, leaving in England
the three youngest children. Another son, Franklin
Thomas, was born in Hobart in 1839 and named for Sir
John and Lady Franklin whose hospitality the Goulds
They were much feted during their sojourn in
Australia & the perceptive Lady Franklin observed that
Gould was very conscious of his importance to the world
of ornithology and his standing in the community as
Nevertheless, social obligations aside, it was a busy
time. Gould, John Gilbert, who was to remain in
Australia to continue collecting on a retainer of 100
pounds plus expenses, & two Australians, Natty & Gemmy
collected 800 bird specimens, 70 quadrupeds and the
nests and eggs of more than 70 species of birds and
their skeletons. On his return to England in 1840 Gould
imported the budgerigar or grass parakeet which remains
a popular pet there to this very day.
Much can be credited to his wife Elizabeth, who
embraced all his goals & ambitions ardently, producing
84 plates for The Birds of Australia. Edward Lear
contributed one, Waterhouse Hawkins contributed one and
the remaining 595 plates were produced by H.C. Richter.
Subscribers to The Birds of Australia had to wait over
eight years (eighteen for the Supplement) before they
could bind the seven volumes, as the titles, lists of
plates and introduction were delivered with the last of
After the premature death of Elizabeth at the age of
37 in 1841, four days after the birth of her sixth child
& Lear’s departure, Gould embarked on a new partnership
with Richter. The great success of their first
collaboration, Birds of Australia (1849-1883) encouraged
Gould to embark on 'The Birds of Great Britain’
(1862-1873). Birds of Asia was started in 1850 &
completed by Sharpe after Gould’s death at the age of
References: Fine Bird Books: p.102, Bird Artists of
the World, p. 259; National Library of Australia Web
These beautiful prints from Birds of Australia have
never been bound into volumes, surviving as bound
fascicles with immaculate provenance from the collection
of Lord Kennet of the Dene, with his bookplate & motto
“Be Right & Persist.”
Each print measures approximately 15" by 22” & is in
impeccable condition with brilliant color. The original
text & a copy of the title binding will be provided,
along with a copy of the bookplate of Lord Kennet. As
one of only 250 original sets, many of which are now in
museums, there are now very few of these beautiful
prints available on the market for the discerning
collector of, so it is with great pleasure we offer them
for your enjoyment.
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orders. Washington state residents pay Washington state sales tax. Shipping for this item is
$13.95. International shipping is $30.00. Items can be combined to save on postage.
Our environment is smoke free. We pack professionally using only new materials. All items are beautifully wrapped and suitable for sending directly as
gifts. You may return any item within 7 days if not satisfied.
To order, you may call us, fill out the order form or email.