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John Gould
Dates: British, 1804 - 1881
Biographical Account:

John Gould had little education and no formal art training, yet became famous in the 1800s for research and publication into ornithology, or birds. He first trained as a gardener, but by the age of 21,had become a taxidermist and at 24 became curator of the museum of the Society of Zoology in London.


As curator, Gould had access to many skins, feathers and stuffed birds from around the world, which enabled him to research and illustrate the birds in detail. While researching his books, Gould also travelled to Australia, taking his wife Elizabeth with him. As a talented artist herself, Elizabeth lithographed the plates for him. Later, for his work on hummingbirds, Gould also travelled to America. By his death in 1881, Gould had published large-scale illustrated books of the birds of every continent except Antarctica.


Gould published eight major works on birds and most of the books comprised a number of volumes. Possibly the most famous of his works is The Birds of Australia, which he published in seven volumes, plus a supplement. Other books include A Monograph of the Ramphastidae (or toucans), A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of AmericaBirds of Great Britain,  The Birds of Asia, The Birds of New Guinea and the Papuan Islands. His final work, published in entirety after his death is A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds.

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