Porphyrio bellus. Azure-breasted Porphyrio. [Pukeko]


Title:
Porphyrio bellus. Azure-breasted Porphyrio. [Pukeko]
Date:
C1848 (1860)
Artist:
John Gould (1804-1881)
Image Size:
530mm x 350mm (20.87" x 13.78")
Condition:
In good condition.
Technique:
Lithograph with original hand colouring and gum arabic highlights.
Price:

Availability: In stock

$A 1,450
Stock Number:
GOULDAA 503 (HAL) (C111)
Description:

Rare lithogr or New Zealand Pukeko by John Gould from his epic series, The Birds of Australia and Adjacent Islands, published for the author, printed by Richard and John E. Taylor, London.

In his introduction to The Birds of Australia, Gould stated the reasons for endeavouring the mammoth task of documenting the ornithology of Australia; "I was naturally desirous of turning my attention to the Ornithology of some other region; and a variety of opportune and concurring circumstances induced me to select that of Australia, the birds of which, although invested with the highest degree of interest, had been almost entirely neglected In the absence, then, of any general work on the Birds of Australia, the field was comparatively a new one, and of no ordinary degree of interest, from the circumstance of its being one of the finest possessions of the British Crown, and from its natural productions being as remarkable for the anomalous nature of their forms, as for their beauty, and the singularity of their habits." 

Common name: Australian swamphen, Pukeko (New Zealand)
Binomial name: Porphyrio melanotus
First described: Temminck 1820
Distribution: Australia, New Zealand

Biography:

John Gould (1804-1881)

John Gould was born in 1804, at Lyme Regis in Dorset. In 1818 his father was appointed a foreman gardener at the Royal Gardens, Windsor Castle. As a youth Gould also trained at these gardens and became an expert in taxidermy. In 1825 Gould moved to London and set himself up as a self-employed taxidermist. He was the first known taxidermist to have received royal patronage after preserving a Thick-kneed Bustard for King George IV. Numerous orders followed from the king with the most arduous task being stuffing the famous giraffe given by the Pasha of Egypt.

He met and married Elizabeth Coxen in 1827. A talented artist in her own right, Elizabeth’s drawings and lithographic skills were fundamental to the success of John Gould’s renowned publications.

In 1830, he obtained a number of specimens of the exotic and little-known birds of Northern India, forming the bold idea of issuing a book about them, which was rejected by the publishers. Gould was determined to issue the book himself at his own expense and so he arranged for his talented wife to draw and lithograph the plates form his own sketches. He persuaded N.A. Vigors to write the text for him and then set about getting subscribers for his publication. At this, he was spectacularly successful and this list was headed by Victoria (Queen from 1837) and Prince Albert, an emperor, a king, three princes and nine dukes. The resulting book,A Century of Birds… from the Himalaya Mountains, was published in 1832. This folio size (550mm x 380mm) was to become his format for all his great works.

Encouraged by the response to his first book, Gould set about on a more ambitious project: an attempt to illustrate all of the birds of Europe. He engaged Edward Lear to share the job of illustrating the work with Elizabeth and between them they produced 449 plates for the Birds of Europe which was completed in 1837. This established Gould not only in the eyes of the public but also within the scientific community.

He then sailed to Australia in May 1838 with his wife and eldest son, aged 7, a young nephew, a man-servant and a maid-servant, and his collector John Gilbert. He stayed in Australia for two years leaving from Sydney on 9 April 1840. On his return he took on his greatest work The Birds of Australia begun in London on 1 December 1840. The final parts, making a total of thirty-six, appeared in 1848. They were bound in seven volumes and the cost to subscribers was £115. A supplement volume issued in parts was completed in 1869.

Availability: In stock

$A 1,450
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Availability: In stock

$A 1,450
Add to Cart
Free shipping
Australia-wide
Worldwide over $A150