FELLOW OF THE LINNEAN AND ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETIES OF LONDON; MEMBER OF THE
LYCEUM OF NEW YORK, OF THE NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY OF PARIS, THE WERNERIAN
NATURAL HISTORY SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH; HONORARY MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY OF
NATURAL HISTORY OF MANCHESTER AND OF THE SCOTTISH ACADEMY OF PAINTING,
SCULPTURE AND ARCHITECTURE; MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY,
OF THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES AT PHILADELPHIA, OF THE NATURAL HISTORY
SOCIETIES OF BOSTON, OF CHARLESTON IN SOUTH CAROLINA, THE QUEBEC LITERARY
AND HISTORICAL SOCIETY, THE ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON, ETC, ETC.
Drawn from nature by the author between 1821 and 1833
and engraved in Edinburgh and London by
W. J. LIZARS & ROBERT HAVELL
between 1828 and 1836
Printed from the original plates
now in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History
and published by the
AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
ALECTO HISTORICAL EDITIONS
Six Classic Audubon Etchings, made from the original
Copperplates with even more care than was exercised... 150 years ago"
In the Ornithology Department of the American Museum of Natural History, there is one
room which is only open by special arrangement.
It is called the Audubon Hall.
Among the display of Audubon's watercolors, prints, drawings,
guns and buckskins, nothing is more treasured than the artist's copperplates that hang on
To mark Audobon's bicentennial, the Museum decided to issue a new edition of six prints
struck from these original double-elephant sized plates, last used in the early 19th
The first new edition since the 1830's.
The six prints in the new edition are:
the Wild Turkey,
Male; the Female Turkey and Young; the Snowy Owl;
the Mallard Duck; the Canada Goose;
and the Great White Heron.
Intent on publishing the definitive edition that had eluded
Audubon himself, the Museum began looking for a firm which had retained the old 19th
century skills of copperplate printing and coloring.
After a long search a firm was selected, Alecto Historical Editions of London. The
Museum's choice has proved the right one.
Alecto Historical Editions has an unrivalled reputation in this field, not only with
this portfolio but also with Banks' Florilegium, the first edition of the plants
collected by Sir Joseph Banks of Captain Cook's first circumnavigation, and now with a new
edition from the original plates of Bodmer's America.
An edition which is closer to Audubon's intentions.
What may surprise many who appreciate Audubon's work is that the
artist, although delighted with the superb quality of the original engravings, was
terribly disappointed with the coloring of many of the prints.
Indeed in one of Audubon's letters, he writes to his printer Robert Havell:
"These recent proofs are no more like my drawings than a chimney sweep is to
your beautiful wife."
The Museum and Alecto therefore went back to Audubon's original watercolors, notes,
letters and even bird specimens to produce this edition.
The results have not only surpassed our expectations but have also met with outstanding
recognition among curators, art historians and Audubon experts.
The well-known British naturalist Sir David Attenborough wrote:
"These new impressions of the 150-year-old plates could well be judged to be a
representation of Audubon's intentions than any produced during the artist's
'Living Bird Quarterly', a scholarly journal published by Cornell University commented:
"Many experts are judging the new edition to be superior to Havell's original
A very limited edition.
Because of the extremely high value of the original plates and
the possibility of stress to them, the Museum has limited the edition to just 125 sets
The plates are now retired for at least the next half century.
The edition is all but sold out, the majority of the sets going to important
collections in North America including the Library of Congress, the Boston Public Library,
the McIlhenny Collection and the National Library of Canada.
Some sets have also been purchased by major corporations including Dow Jones and the
With the majority of the edition now unlikely to return to the market, the last
remaining sets are now being made available to the Friends of the Museum.
We do hope that you will take this opportunity to join our distinguished list of
subscribers. - Click here for Order form.