John (1804) Gould (1804 - 1881)

Lot 172: 19th C. Gould & Richter Litho - Spathura Rufocaligata

Artemis Gallery

March 15, 2018
Louisville, CO, US

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Description: John Gould (British, 1804-1881) and H.C. Richter (British, 1821-1902), colored lithograph entitled, "Spathura rufocaligata" (Red-booted Rachet-Tail), from "A Monograph of the Trochilidoe" or "Family of Hummingbirds" London, printed by Hullmandel & Walton, published between 1880 and 1887. A lithograph with original vibrant color and a realistic rendering by Gould and Richter. The custom framed image comes with the accompanying letter press printed page with Gould's written observations about this species. The composition is stunning, featuring four hummingbirds (two males and two females), two perched upon a floral branch as well as a flying pair swooping in opposite directions through the sky. Size: 31.25" L x 24.375" W (79.4 cm x 61.9 cm) framed; text page 21.25" L x 14.625" W (54 cm x 37.1 cm)

Gould was a revered ornithologist whose prints are regaled for their veristic renderings. His accuracy in capturing the traits of each bird species was the result of years of study. Gould worked with several other artists, including H.C. Richter who contributed to this example, J. Wolf, and Gould's wife Elizabeth. Gould would provide these artists with his sketches, and the artists would then finish these, lithograph them onto stones, and finally hand color them.

Gould's accompanying text for this lithograph reads in part, "This new Humming-bird was procured in Bolivia by Mr. Bridges, who informed me that he found the species rather numerous at Sandillani in the Yungas of La Paz, but had no opportunity of making himself acquainted with its habits, for a knowledge of which, therefore, we must await the researches of some future traveller: there is little doubt, however, that they will prove to be very similar to those of its near allies, the Spathura Underwoodi and S. Peruana." He continues, "The male has the throat and forepart of the neck luminous metallic green; the plumage of the body bronzy green; wings brown; tarsi clothed with a thick ruff of rusty red feathers; tail brown, the outer feathers prolonged and narrow, and ending in a broad spatulate tip; bill black. Total length, 4 1/2 inches; bill 3/4; wing 1 3/4; tail 2 1/2." Gould goes on to describe the female with the same level of astute observation. See photo of this page for the complete written description.

Provenance: private S.S. collection, Boulder, Colorado, USA

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Condition Report: Lithograph shows slight areas of discoloration and minor creases that are difficult to see. Custom double mat, frame, and glass are in excellent condition. Accompanying printed page shows slight tears at borders, creases, and expected discoloring commensurate with age.
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