Passerine Birds by Eleazar Albin

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Albin Lesser Butcher Bird Hen, Lanius Tertius
EAL101
$195
Sale Price: $95
Albin Crested Wren, Common Wren,
Beoulus Cristatus and Regulus
EAL93
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Lesser Butcher-Bird, Lanius tertius
EAL122
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Martin or Martlet, Sand or Bank Martin,
Hirundo agrestis and riparia
EAL128
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Yellow Water Wagtail, Motacilla Flava
EAL129
$215
Sale Price: $
105
Albin Chinese Sparrow, Passer Chinensis
EAL130
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Red Winged Starling, Sturnus niger alis superne rubentibus EAL147 $225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Red Headed Butcher Bird
EAL141
$195
Sale Price: $95
Albin Lesser Black Woodpecker
EAL139
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Crested Lark
EAL149
$195
Sale Price: $95
Albin Bunting, Emberiza Alba
EAL150
$185
Sale Price: $85
Albin Greater Red Start, Merula Saxatilis
EAL151
$185
Sale Price: $85
Albin Horsman Pidgeon
EAL163
$195
Sale Price:
SOLD
Albin Beniahbon from Bengal
EAL166
$195
Sale Price: $95
Albin Contra from Bengall
EAL160
$195
Sale Price:
$95
Albin Magpie
EAL167
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Water Wagtail, Motacilla Alba
EAL168
SOLD
Albin Grosbeak, Coccothraustes
EAL170
$225
Sale Price: $115
Albin Sky Lark, Alauda Vulgaris
EAL169
$215
Sale Price: $105
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Passerine Birds by Eleazar Albin

We are very pleased to offer these original copper plate engravings by Eleazar Albin the 1st English edition of The Natural History of Birds. This is the rarest and most highly prized of Albin’s works as it was hand coloured entirely by Albin and his daughter, Elizabeth. There were only 89 sets published, and we have linked the list of original subscribers below. It was a monumental undertaking seen only a few times in the history of natural history works and compares with the illustration of 60 editions of The Birds of Great Britain, with their Eggs by William Lewin and his sons and the colouring of 100 copies of Birds of America by Rex Brasher.

The Title Page of the publication reads, "Published by the Author Eleazar Albin, and carefully colour'd by his Daughter and Self, from the Originals, drawn from the live Birds."

The Names of the Subscribers can be viewed by clicking here.

Albin was a German professional painter who settled in England in 1707, where he married and raised a family, changing his name from Weiss to Albin. He illustrated works on insects and spiders, earning his living by making watercolors of the collections of wealthy patrons, including Sir Hans Sloane, whose collection founded the British Museum. His work on birds was done late in his life & was the first large English work on ornithology, hand-colored by Albin and his daughter Elizabeth & published initially in London from 1731-1738.

In Albin's notes to the reader he states "As for the paintings, they are all done from the life, with all the Exactness I could either with my own hand, or my daughters, whom I have taught to draw and paint after the life." As was the custom with many other works of the day, it was sold by subscription. Ref: Dictionary of Bird Artist, p132.

Each print measures approximately 9 inches by 11 1/4 inches with wonderful copperplate style descriptions on the bottom of the page. The paper is creamy, strong and chain-lined, with some watermarks. We have made some allowances for condition as it is from such a historical early set hand coloured by Eleazer and Elizabeth Albin. There is little foxing, but some toning of the paper and some slight offset. Unusual for Albin, the margins are intact except in a few cases and the plate marks present and strong. There is an accompanying copy of the title page, and either the original or facsimile descriptive text as it was printed back to back.

The hand coloring is exactly as the master wished, since he did it himself, some 250 years old, and it could not be more exceptional to know that each print has been touched by his hand, or his daughters’. Popular from the initial publication, attracting almost 100 subscribers, it is no less beloved today. There is an endearing & engaging quality to these illustrations that resemble the folk art of later times and we are delighted to offer this rare treasure to our buyers.


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