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    Original 1834 First Edition Audubon Engraving

    John James Audubon. Pinnated Grous - Plate 186 (Havell Edition).
    This is a beautiful 1834 original hand-colored aquatint accomplished by Robert Havell under Audubon's supervision. It is one of the few images in the four-volume folio Birds of America (London:1827-1838) for which Audubon originally drew all three elements himself -- the birds, the prairie background and the flora. All 435 plates were printed on Double Elephant folio paper in order to accommodate life-sized images. The engraving shows two male grouse, from the Heath Hen subspecies of the Greater Prairie Chicken, courting a female next to a Turks Cap lily, with a background Audubon's writings identify as "original western meadows." The paper for the Havell edition was handmade by James Whatman. (Whatman's paper was also used by Benjamin Franklin to print the promissory notes he issued during the American Revolution.) With trimmed margins, thus not bearing the J. Whatman watermark. Time staining along all four extreme edges; mat burns to the left and right in the margins; buckling to the margins, moving into the image; scattered spots of foxing confined to the margins; trimmed margins. Print Grade: 5/10. Mounted and framed under acrylic. Sheet dimensions 24-3/8 x 35-1/2 inches. Framed size 30-1/4 x 41-5/16 inches. Still, a lovely, full-size depiction of the early Audubon image sought by many for so long.

    For decades researchers from a variety of fields searched for the image Audubon referenced when he wrote in that "his first engraved illustration of a bird was on a "bank note 'belonging to the state of New Jersey." As will be further discussed in the following lot descriptions, Eric P. Newman co-authored with Robert M. Peck the groundbreaking article "Discovered! The First Engraving of an Audubon Bird" in 2010 (reprinted in the previous pages, widely reproduced online, and well worth reading in its entirety). Their discovery of a running grouse vignette -- an image less than one square inch -- on a circa-1825 banknote engraver's sample sheet was akin to finding the Holy Grail of numismatics and nature.

    Those who knew Eric P. Newman and his research habits would not be surprised to find that he learned everything he possibly could about John James Audubon. He also could (and did) give an extemporaneous 20-minute lecture on the artist (during a casual phone conversation) on everything from Audubon's illegitimate origins and his original name of Jean Rabin to his methodology while working with his subjects in the field. The Pinnated Grous is a beautiful, original piece of work from America's most revered nature artist, and it has the important pedigree of the remarkable Eric P. Newman's collection.
    Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2018
    7th-10th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 566

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman (softcover)
    A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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