By Appt. Alamo, CA 94507 , United States Call Seller 925.272.8170


King Duck": An Original First Octavo Edition Audubon Hand-colored Lithograph

$ 575
  • Description
    This is an original John James Audubon hand-colored royal first octavo edition lithograph entitled "King Duck, 1. Male, 2. Female", No. 81, Plate 404, from Audubon's "Birds of America". It was lithographed, printed and colored by J. T. Bowen and published in Philadelphia between 1840-1844. It depicts colorful adult male King Duck standing on a rock on the left and a smaller female on the right standing on ground. There is water in the background. First edition Octavo prints are very desirable for Audubon collectors today because they were created under the direct instruction and supervision of Audubon and were always entirely hand-colored.

    There is a barely perceptible small spot in the upper margin and another in the lower margin. There is irregularity of the lower edge of the sheet where it was bound in the publication. This original vibrant first octavo edition hand-colored Audubon lithograph is otherwise in very good condition. The sheet measures 6.88" high by 10.75" wide. The original descriptive text pages, 347-348 from Audubon's book are included.

    John James Audubon (1785-1851) was a naturalist and artist. He was initially unsuccessful financially prior to the publication of his famous work “The Birds of America”, spending time in debtor’s prison, once stabbing a disgruntled investor in self-defense. However, his obsession with birds and art motivated him to persist in his goal of documenting every bird in America via his watercolor paintings and publishing his works for all to enjoy. Audubon's first illustrations were published in a large elephant folio size. Due to their expense they were purchased in rather small numbers by the wealthy. To reach a larger audience, Audubon, with the help of his sons and J. T. Bowen, published a smaller octavo sized lithograph version, which were much more affordable.

    With the success of his bird projects, Audubon then turned his attention to four-legged animals. He explored the Missouri River in 1843 sketching the four-legged animals he encountered in their natural setting. His expedition covered some of the same regions recently explored by Lewis and Clark, traveling from present day Alaska to Mexico. Audubon realized that this was an opportunity to document these animals in the still relatively pristine American wilderness, before man encroached on their environment.

    Between 1845 and 1848, Audubon and his sons John Woodhouse Audubon and Victor Gifford Audubon produced a set of elephant folio sized lithographs that were primarily engraved and hand colored by J. T. Bowen in Philadelphia. The publication, which included text descriptions of the animals was published 3 years before Audubon died. As with the birds, this was followed by a three-volume set of 155 octavo-sized plates entitled “The Quadrupeds of North America” completed and published by Audubon’s sons, John, Jr. and Victor.

    Audubon prints continue to be popular and a wise investment. The double elephant folio set “The Birds of America” have sold at auction for as much as $8.8 million, and individual plates may sell for six figures. The beautiful octavo sized plates are not as expensive, but becoming more sought after, as the folio bird plates become unattainable to all but the very wealthy.
  • More Information
    Documentation: Signed
    Origin: United States
    Period: 18th Century
    Condition: Good.
    Styles / Movements: Traditional
    Incollect Reference #: 570501
  • Dimensions
    W. 10.75 in; H. 6.88 in;
    W. 27.31 cm; H. 17.48 cm;
Message from Seller:

Timeless Intaglio is an online gallery of rare and collectable antiquarian prints, maps and books. Although we specialize in all forms of vintage printed works on paper, the majority were created with the intaglio method of transferring ink from a plate, usually copper, to paper with a technique utilizing pressure generated by a press. Email us directly:

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