“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT SPECIMENS OF THE ART”: AUDUBON’S QUADRUPEDS
AUDUBON, John James and BACHMAN, John. The Quadrupeds of North America. New York: George R. Lockwood, . Three volumes. Royal octavo, contemporary three-quarter green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $19,000.
Handsome Lockwood octavo edition, illustrated with 155 magnificent hand-colored lithographic plates of American mammals from the polar bear to the buffalo.
Having built his reputation with the legendary Birds of America, Audubon began an equally imposing project: to capture on paper the astonishing variety of American mammals. Many of the beautiful hand-colored plates are justly famous, including the polar bear, the American buffalo, and the jaguar. Bachman, Audubon’s long-time collaborator, said of the Quadrupeds, “They are the most beautiful and perfect specimens of the art. I doubt whether there is anything in the world of natural history like them, I do not believe that there is any man living that can equal them” (Ford). The octavo edition of the Quadrupeds, first published by Victor Audubon in 31 separate parts between 1849 and 1854 (as well as in book form those same years), was reissued in 1860 and 1870 by George Lockwood, who had come into possession of the original stones. This present edition is the 1860 imprint, retaining the original Introduction in Volume I (dated 1846), with “1849” on the copyright pages and without Lockwood’s Preface (which appeared in the later edition and is dated 1870). Bannon & Clark, 76. See Ford, 217.
Plate impressions fresh and colors true, contemporary morocco bindings handsome. A fine set.