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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Natural History

Prideaux John Selby's Illustrations of Ornithology


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Selby LoonSpacerSelby Eared Grebe, Young


Prints by Prideaux John Selby. From Illustrations of Ornithology. London: Selby, 1821-1834. Imperial folio; ca. 15 1/2 x 21. Copper engravings. Original hand coloring. Very good condition, unless noted.

Prideaux John Selby is often called the British Audubon, for his magnificent work, Illustrations of Ornithology, was the first British natural history to render all its subjects in their exact life size, as Audubons was the first to do so for American birds. The connection actually goes deeper, for in 1826 Selby took lessons in technique from Audubon in Edinburgh, and this is evidenced in the marvelous skill with which Selby portrayed his subjects. In depicting the birds in their life size, Selby produced prints of a larger size than any other prints of the period than those of Audubon, whose prints followed shortly. Selby employed the best British engravers and colorists of the time, and the large size of the prints allowed the most advantageous display of the fine work for which these prints are known. Finely engraved, accurate in detail, wonderfully colored, and strong and dramatic in appearance, Selbys prints are some of the best figures of British birds that have ever been published... (C.E. Jackson, Bird Illustrators, p.33)




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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated March 17, 2012