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Audubon, John James (1785-1851) and Reverend John Bachman (1790-1874) The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.

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Books & Manuscripts - 2865B
Date / Time :
November 15, 2015 11:00AM


Audubon, John James (1785-1851) and Reverend John Bachman (1790-1874) The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
New York: by J.J Audubon and V.G. Audubon, 1845-1851. Three imperial folio atlas volumes and three octavo text volumes.
Atlas volumes illustrated with 150 hand-colored lithographs of the four-footed mammals of North America (fifty in each volume), first edition, with the title page for volume three present; the three bound in uniform half red morocco and corners with gray buckram sides, 27 1/4 x 20 3/4 in.
Text volumes bound in uniform gray buckram, volume two title page inscribed by Victor Gifford Audubon (1809-1860) to a Dr. A.V. Williams; half-title present in volume one; title page of volume three replaced by another title page for volume one, the volume number changed by hand; marginal water stains to volume one, 11 x 7 1/4 in. (6)

One of the most notable and successful American illustrated book projects of the 19th century, this copy of the Viviparous Quadrupeds is complete as issued with all 150 hand-colored lithographs. The illustrations were based on John James and John Woodhouse Audubon's original paintings, sketches, and notes taken in the field. The atlas volumes are bound in three, with separate title pages for each; later editions were bound up in two, with inferior coloring, and without the title-page for volume three. The Quadrupeds expedition and publishing project were funded with profits from The Birds of America. Printed by subscription and produced entirely in the United States, Audubon employed color lithography for the images, a relatively new technology that he felt would most accurately represent the subject animals, without costing as much as the hand-colored copperplate engravings he used in The Birds. Audubon the father contributed seventy-seven drawings himself. The remaining art was executed by his sons, John Woodhouse and Victor Gifford, as their father's infirmities made his full participation impossible. The Reverend John Bachman composed the material for the text volumes, describing each animal and its habits in great detail. The Quadrupeds originally appeared in thirty numbers: ten dollars for five plates.

Provenance: Property of an independent Audubon Society.
Estimate $200,000-300,000

Atlas folio volume one: foxing to title; soft vertical creases to contents page; plate one: Common American Wild Cat with corner thumbing; plate six: Cross Fox, foxing to background; plate sixteen: Canada Lynx, slight background foxing; plate twenty-one: Grey Fox, 2 1/4 in. tear top left vertical edge, stopping just shy of plate number, repaired on verso; plate twenty-three Black Rat, sheet evenly toned; plate twenty-eight: Common Flying Squirrel, 7 in. closed tear parallel to gutter in blank margin, repaired; plate forty-one: Pennant's Marten or Fisher, toned overall with lighter splotches in background, 2 in. closed tear bottom margin; plate forty-six: American Beaver, sheet toned with slight splotches; plate forty-seven: American Badger, few slight spots.
Atlas folio volume two: foxing to title; foxing and minor vertical folds to contents page; plate fifty-one: Canada Otter, sheet is evenly toned, tan blotch in bottom right corner; plate seventy-one: Prairie Wolf, sheet evenly toned; plate seventy-eight: Black Tailed Deer, sheet evenly toned; plate eighty-one: Common American Deer, Fawn, two spots in background near head; plate eighty-two: Red Texan Wolf, short closed tear, 2 in., left vertical edge, just below the image, repaired on verso; plate ninety-five: Orange Colored Mouse, general blotches to sheet.
Atlas folio volume three: title page becoming detached at gutter; foxing and vertical creases to contents page, short closed tear along fore edge; plate 101: Jaguar, light toning, spot in top left corner, thumbing to lower corners, paper beginning to break along horizontal crease, short 1 in. tear parallel to gutter; plate 103: Hoary Marmot, sheet very lightly and evenly toned; plate 108: Bachman's Hare, short closed tear 1 3/4 in. long to left blank margin, repaired on verso; plate 116: Black or Silver Fox, light graze over mid-section of animal on the black fur; plate 129: Northern Meadow Mouse misnumbered 124; plate 138: Pine Marten, light spotting to blank margins.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


John Woodhouse, John Woodhouse Audubon, Victor Gifford, Victor Gifford Audubon, Audubon, Audubon movement, Fellows of the Royal Society, John Bachman, John James Audubon, Maria Martin, National Audubon Society, The Birds of America, United States