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Item #41596 The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. John James AUDUBON, John Woodhouse AUDUBON, Reverend John, BACHMAN, Artist, Naturalist Author.
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America

The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America

New York: John James Audubon [Victor Audubon], 1845-1848. Three volumes. Elephant folio. (27 1/4 x 21 1/4 inches). First edition. Three lithograph title-pages, three leaves of letterpress contents. 150 hand-colored lithograph plates by John T. Bown of Philadelphia after John James Audubon and John Woodhouse Audubon, the backgrounds after Victor Audubon. Expertly bound to style in purple half morocco over period purple cloth boards, spine with raised bands lettered in the second and third compartments, the others decorated in gilt, marbled edges and endpapers. Within grey cloth clamshell cases with red morocco lettering-pieces in gilt. [With:] The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. New York: John James Audubon, 1846-1851-1854. 3 volumes, small 4to (10 x 7 inches). Half-titles, list of subscribers. 6 hand-colored lithograph plates. Expertly bound to style uniform to the above in purple half morocco over period purple cloth boards, marbled endpapers.

A beautiful set of the first elephant folio edition of Audubon's "Quadrupeds," complete with the rare text volumes with six additional hand-colored plates.

This is Audubon's final great natural history work. Unlike the double-elephant folio edition of The Birds of America, which was printed in London, the Quadrupeds was produced in the United States. It was the largest and most significant color-plate book produced in America in the nineteenth-century, and a fitting monument to Audubon's continuing genius. The work was originally published in thirty parts, each containing five plates, and priced at ten dollars per number. The first proofs were ready in 1842, but Audubon was fully employing the services of the lithographer Bowen on the octavo edition of The Birds of America, which was the greatest moneymaker of any of the Audubon family ventures. Instead, Audubon and his sons busied themselves in gathering subscribers, signing up over two hundred by the summer of 1844 (eventually the subscription list reached three hundred). The last part of the octavo Birds appeared in May 1844; publication of the folio Quadrupeds commenced immediately after with the first number being issued in January 1845 and the first volume completed within the year. Audubon's health began to fail dramatically, and responsibility for new artwork fell mainly on his son John Woodhouse Audubon, with some help from his brother Victor. The second volume was completed in March 1847. But as John Woodhouse traveled first to Texas, then to London and Europe, the pace slowed further. The final number was issued early in 1849. By this time the elder Audubon had succumbed to senility ("His mind is all in ruins," Bachman wrote sadly in June 1848). Audubon died in early 1851. In the end, about half of the plates for Quadrupeds were based on the works of John James and half on John Woodhouse. Audubon's collaborator on the text of the Quadrupeds was the naturalist and Lutheran clergyman, Bachman, who was a recognized authority on the subject in the United States. The two began their association when Audubon stayed with Bachman and his family in Charleston for a month in 1831. This friendship was later cemented by the marriage of Audubon's sons, Victor and John, to Bachman's daughters, Maria and Eliza. Audubon knew Bachman's contribution to the Quadrupeds would be crucial, especially because of concerns over his own technical knowledge. By 1840, Bachman had become indispensable to the Quadrupeds project, and as Audubon showed increasing signs of illness, found himself writing most of the text, with some help from Victor who was the project's primary business manager. The text appeared between December 1846 and the spring of 1854. Two issues of the third volume of the text are known, the present being the preferred second issue, with the supplementary text and the six octavo-sized plates issued in 1854, those six images not found in the folio. The elephant folio edition of Audubon's Quadrupeds will always be compared to Audubon's incomparable Birds. It should be judged in its own right, as one of the grandest American works of natural history ever produced, and one of the greatest American illustrated works ever created.

Bennett, p.5. Ford, Audubon's Animals, passim. Peck, "Audubon and Bachman, a Collaboration in Science," pp.71-115, in Boehme's John James Audubon in the West. Nissen 162. Reese, Stamped with a National Character 36. Sabin 2367. Tyler, "The Publication of the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America," pp.119-182 in Boehme. Wood, p.208.

Item #41596

Price: $395,000.00