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Birds Fly By Estimate

October 14, 2020

5 volume book of british birds

We are happy as larks to be presenting Taking Flight, an exhibition that benefits the American Bird Conservancy. As such, I thought it would be very apropos to find a recent auction item with a bird theme…I was successful!

John Gould (1804 – 1881) was an English ornithologist and artist; he illustrated and published monographs on birds, and is considered one of the most significant figures in bird illustrations, second only to Audubon. One of his most sought-after publications is titled Birds of Great Britain, which Gould self-published and produced just 750 copies of.  The set contains 25 volumes, completed between 1863-1873, and contains 367 colored lithographs.  Although Gould did not do all the illustrations himself, he did supervise their production and took great pride and joy in the images.

illustration of British birds

A 1st edition, complete set, compiled into a five-volume set, was recently offered and quickly flew past the estimate of £15 -25K ($19.5 – 32.6K) when it sold for £51K ($66.6K)!