1785 - 1851
Snowy Heron or White Egret, No. 49, Plate CCXLII
hand-coloured engraving and aquatint on Whatman wove paper
embossed with the J. Whatman 1836 watermark and stamped Engraved, Printed, & Coloured, by R. Havell. London. 1835
25 1/2 x 20 1/2 in, 64.8 x 52.1 cm
Estimate: $50,000 - $70,000
Sold for: $55,250
By descent through the Bennett family in Minnesota since the early 1900s
By descent to the present Private Collection, Victoria
John James Audubon, The Birds of America: From Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories, Edinburgh and London, 1827 – 1838, plate 242
Snowy Heron or White Egret is plate 242 of John James Audubon’s magnum opus Birds of America, the most valuable illustrated book in history, of which 435 copies were made. Audubon devoted his life to studying, identifying and depicting the birds of North America, and he was America’s most important and beloved natural history artist. In the second decade of the nineteenth century, Audubon set out to capture and record every species of native bird in the United States. His ambitious project culminated in the publication of 435 aquatints between the years of 1827 to 1838, and it established his reputation as the master of ornithological art.
One of the most desirable plates from the series, this work is from the first edition printed on “double elephant folio” paper - referring to its large size - as Audubon intended to produce life-size representations of the birds. The print bears the J. Whatman 1836 watermark, indicating it was engraved and printed on Whatman Turkey Mill paper by Robert Havell Jr. in London.
This piece came to be in the collection of the Bennett family in Minnesota in the early decades of the twentieth century. It has since been passed down through the same family.
The full sheet size is 35 3/4 x 25 1/4 inches.
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
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