Audubon's Magnificent
Alaska Seabird Group

Audubon chose the background for his Alaska seabird plate from a copper plate engraving in Cook's Voyages. 

If you compare the backgroud mountains in the Audubon with the background in James Cook's SNUG CORNER COVE, PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, you will see that they are the same! 

I sold one of these fine Amsterdams to a collector (and expert on the Marbled Murrelet) many years ago, and later sold him an original Cook's Voyage print of Snug Corner Cove.  About a year later he came rushing into my store all excited and told me how he was looking at the two prints in his living room one day and noticed that the backgrounds were the same.  That was a great discovery!  Either Audubon himself, or Havell, his etcher, decided to place Audubon's Alaska seabirds against this Prince William Sound background. Above the middle bird you will see a point of land; this is the Native village of Tatitlek.

The Alaska Alcids are (left to right) Ancient Murrelet (I once spent a summer on Forrester Island with them). The brown bird Audubon identified as a young Ancient Murrelet. Roger Tory Peterson corrected this to be a Marbled Murrelet, but I think he was wrong, too.  It looks to me like a Kittlitz's Murrelet. Kittlitz's Murrelets are interesting little Alcids and like to feed at the face of glaciers. The middle bird is a Least Auklet. Next to it in the water is a Crested Auklet, and, finally, to the right is a Rhinoceros Auklet.  A truly wonderful Alaska natural history print, and the original was published even before the invention of photography.

The plate is an 8-color offset lithography reproduction of an original plate from a set of John James Audubon's "The Birds of America," double elephant folio edition published in London, between 1826 and 1838. This Alaska seabird plate is one of only 250 ever published for the "Amsterdam Edition." It was done in New York and Amsterdam by Theatrum Orbis Terrarum between 1971-1972 and was the first time in over 135 years that the entire folio of bird etchings were again printed.  Theatrum Orbis Terrarum used the  set at the Teyler Museum in Haarlem, Holland, for their reissue. The original Havell prints were copper plate etchings, which was discovered while the originals were being photo-lithographed; It had long been assumed that these original Double Elephant Folio Prints were copper plate engravings.  The Amsterdam Edition was printed in the exact same size as the original. They are printed on 100% pure unbleached cotton rag by Van Gelder with the watermark "G.Schut & Zonen (JR) (OT) Audubon."  on each plate. The Amsterdams are nearing 30 years old and have always been quite scarce and are now even more so.

The print is in fine condition with great color. The PAPER (with borders) MEASURES: 39 7/16 X 25 7/8 inches. The image size is 18 5/8 X 28 inches.

This would make a truly fine gift for the lover of Alaska seabirds or Alaska natural history in general.

Price is $395 plus $15 shipping and insurance.

Conservation matting and framing is available, if you wish this item to be shipped, as framed, to a friend or relative.

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For sale: Audubon's Alaska seabird group

detail of Audubon's Alaska seabird group

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