LEAR, Edward (1812-1888)
Trichoglossus Matoni, [Maton's Parakeet]
[London: E. Lear, 1830-1832]. Hand-coloured lithograph, printed by Charles Hullmandel. Wove paper. Sheet size: 19 7/8 x 13 inches.
A fine example of the work of "perhaps the greatest draughtsman of birds in European culture." (Philip Hofer) This image is from Lear's masterpiece: "Illustrations of the Family Psittacidae, or Parrots," a work that combines "the most exacting scientific naturalism with a masterly sense of design and intuitive sympathy for animal intelligence." (Susan Hyman, "Edward Lear's Birds", 1980)
This beautiful lithograph is from Lear's first published work, limited to 175 copies, the first English ornithological work published in folio format with lithographic plates. Lear began work on this monograph when he was only eighteen and carefully supervised every step of the publication. He made many of his original sketches from the live specimens at the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens. Christine Jackson describes Lear's painstaking approach to his work: "Lear worked in great detail, outlining every feather and filling in the details with fine lines. This scientific accuracy extended to every part of the bird, from the beak to the claws ...The colouring was done with opaque watercolours with touches of egg-white for parts of the feathers requiring sheen, and for the eye, to add that life-like touch." (Bird Illustrators: Some Artists in Early Lithography, London: 1975). The image shows a member of theTrichoglossus genus, which is distributed widely throughout Australia, Wallacea and Melanesia, with outliers in the Philippines and Micronesia. Members of the genus are characterised by barring, sometimes prominently, on the upper breast, as depicted here.
Cf. Anker 283; cf. Fine Bird Books (1990) p. 115; cf. Nissen IVB 536; cf. Ray The Illustrator and the Book 90; Zimmer, pp. 380-381.