John James Audubon (1785–1851) was an American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. His book The Birds of America (1827-1839) is acclaimed as one of the world's best documentation of birds. Here he is as painted by the Scottish artist John Syme who must have travelled to America at one time.
Audubon is considered to be America's finest wildlife artist so let's have a look at some of his illustrations of birds. The Hero Image today is one of his paintings of the American Avocet. What I like about Audubon's paintings is that he has added a narrative to each image to enhance the ornithological details. Here is his A Northern Bobwhite under attack by a young Red Shouldered Hawk.
And I just love these Large Billed Puffin.
But my favourite from the images I’ve seen is the Louisiana Heron which complements its surroundings admirably.
And his Dove Birds are also delightful.
If you are interested in Audubon's work I suggest you check out this site for further information and more images. http://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america
There is a saying in bird circles- before Audubon was Lady Elizabeth Gwillim (nee Symonds 1763-1807) who was painting birds before Audubon was born. Lady Elizabeth was married to the Puisne Judge at the Madras High Court until her early death in 1807. She painted directly from her observations of the birds in their natural environments which was over 200 years ago in Southern India. This is a Chestnut Bittern.
And this one is a Green Wood Quail.
And finally Purple Sunbirds.
Lady Gwillim painted a series of about 200 watercolours of Indian birds though unfortunately I could only find these three images on the web.
And before Lady Elizabeth was Eleazar Albin (1690-1742) who was an English naturalist and watercolourist, illustrating a number of books on birds, insects and spiders. Albin was German born and settled in England in 1707, where he married and raised a family, changing his name from Weiss to Albin. He is considered to be one of the greatest entomological illustrators of the C18th. There is a plethora of his illustrations available so I have chosen the three I appreciated the most. The first is Albin's Macaw, a Jamaican parrot only known from this 1740 painting by Eleazar Albin as it is now extinct. Little is known about the early life of Albin but he claimed to have been in Jamaica in 1701.
And this fine fellow is a Summa Gallicana which must be in the chicken family. Would somebody out there please tell me this bird is for real. Or have I been hoodwinked!
From my reading I learnt that Albin illustrated the wood-crow (northern bald ibis) from a stuffed specimen, being probably the last description of this bird made while the species was still extant in Europe. Isn't it amazing!
Albin's A Natural History of Birds has coloured engravings by Albin and his daughter Elizabeth Albin who helped him with the illustrations. This is Recurvirostra-Avosetta as produced by Elizabeth. I believe it is a type of wader.
I want to conclude today with a couple of modern artists who are paining remarkable pictures of birds. Karen Latham is a modern American miniaturist painting nature. We will look at a couple of her birds but I strongly recommend you look at her other paintings which are exquisite. This is an appropriately named Cardinal.
And isn't this a stunning painting of Daybreak-Trumpeter Swans.
Here is Chickadees-Winter Oak.
Karen's daughters Bonnie and Rebecca are also artists. Check out the Latham family of artists on this link: https://lathamstudios.com/
I want to conclude today with the works of Englishman Robert Gillmor who paints both ornithologically correct images and creative works working in line drawing, watercolour, lino-cuts and silk screen. His works are so vibrant, so dynamic. I think this is a beautiful painting but sadly couldn't find a title.
And this is a stamp designed by Gillmor. But again no identification of the bird.
And these are listed as Turtle Doves but I think they might be Pigeons. Please help identify these birds.
Where to next? Tomorrow we will look at a new feature artist, Charlotte who is 11 years old and has a prodigious talent and artistic view of the world.