American Ptarmigan and White-tailed Grouse
Common Name: Western CapercaillieArtist: after
John James Audubon
, American, 1785 - 1851
Thomas Campbell Eyton
, British, 1809 - 1880
Robert Havell Junior
, British, 1793 - 1878
Material and Medium: hand-coloured engraving and aquatint on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 814 x 610mm
Support: 370 x 523mm
Accession Number: CGSG02279
This plate comes from 'Birds of America', which is considered to be one of the most beautiful illustrated books ever produced. It contains 435 plates arranged for visual effect rather than scientific accuracy so that it was interesting to art collectors as well as ornithologists. Whilst Audubon observed and painted many of the birds and their habitats from life, he shot them too, wiring them into shapes so he could produce accurate drawings. Though he was a hunter himself, Audubon was nevertheless worried by large-scale hunting, and saw 'Birds of America' as a way of recording America's birds for conservation purposes.
The book’s plates and text was issued over several decades, and collectors did not always purchase them all or bind them into finished books. TC Eyton, who this plate originally belonged to cut most of his Audubon plates up so that they would fit in his specially made scrapbooks. As this image is quite small, Eyton merely trimmed off the edges.