Josef Wolf (1820 - 1899)

Born and educated in Prussia, Wolf was apprenticed to a lithographer at the age of sixteen, but after three years he returned home to work on a series of small, detailed bird drawings. This album of drawings brought Wolf recognition from book editors and museums in Frankfurt and Darmstadt. After working as an illustrator on commission, Wolf enrolled at the Antwerp Academy in 1847 to study painting. In 1848, he moved to London where he soon established himself among the leading naturalists and wildlife artists. In 1856, Gould and Wolf traveled together through Norway to study and sketch birds including ptarmigans, golden eagles, and ospreys. Gould included Wolf’s depictions of game and water birds and birds of prey in his, The Birds of Great Britain (1862-1873). Among Wolf’s other great achievements were his illustrations for the London Zoological Society’s The Zoological Sketches (1856-67) and D.G. Elliot’s The Life and Habits of Wild Animals (1874). Wolf became the most famous ornithological artist during his time.

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