Natural History Prints

Natural history prints involve the study of animals, plants, insects, geology and other observations of the environment and its inhabitants. Natural historians have been recording their observations since ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval times, but it was not until the European Renaissance that printmaking and natural history subjects became linked.

Scientists began studying directly from nature, and the rise of engraving and woodblock printmaking for book illustration was useful for this practice. The symbiotic relationship between printmaking and the natural sciences continued for practical purposes well into the 19th century with the illustrations of scientists like the ornithologists John Gould and John Audubon, and the naturalist Edward Lear.

John and Elizabeth Gould travelled to Australia and Tasmania, observing birds in nature, collecting specimens and publishing extensively collections of hand colored lithographs. In 1832, at the age of 19, Edward Lear published his first book on parrots in lushly hand-colored lithographs, and a lifetime of scientific illustration and printing followed. Today, artists create natural history prints in the distinctive style of Audubon, Gould, and Lear for decorative purposes.


Quick Facts

  • The most notable illustrated book on botany, a natural history subject involving the study of plants, was illustrated and printed from woodcut prints by the German scientist Leonhard Fuchs in 1542
  • Between 1551 and 1558, Conrad Gessner published Historiae Animalium, a four-volume work featuring hand-colored woodcut prints, and the first attempt to dispel erroneous information about the natural animal world
  • John Gould's illustrations of bird specimens brought back from the Galapagos islands were published in the late 1830s, containing hand colored lithographs of birds that Gould determined were a new species of finch

Recommended Items at Auction

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JOSE GUADALUPE POSADA "MUCHAS BONITAS" METALCUT ON PINK NEWSPRINT
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
JOSE GUADALUPE POSADA "MUCHAS BONITAS" METALCUT ON PINK NEWSPRINT
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Est: $0- $0
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PAUL DAVIS Signed Offset Lithograph
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
PAUL DAVIS Signed Offset Lithograph
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc
Est: $100- $500
$252 Bids
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Original Drawing by Chaim Gross, Jewish-American Artist
Oct 27, 1:00 PM EDT
Original Drawing by Chaim Gross, Jewish-American Artist
by Lion Heart Autographs
Est: $250- $350
$1001 Bid
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Dali Solomon's Prayer Original Biblia Sacra Lithograph Framed
Oct 17, 10:00 AM EDT
Dali Solomon's Prayer Original Biblia Sacra Lithograph Framed
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Est: $3,000- $4,500
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Pair of Antique Framed English Insect Prints
Oct 24, 6:00 PM EDT
Pair of Antique Framed English Insect Prints
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Est: $0- $0
$51 Bid
Bloch, Folio - Poisoned Grouper Fish - Scorpaena Scrofa. 182
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Bloch, Folio - Poisoned Grouper Fish - Scorpaena Scrofa. 182
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Edwards - Red-breasted Hummingbird & Green-throated Hummingbird & Dormouse. 266
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Edwards - Red-breasted Hummingbird & Green-throated Hummingbird & Dormouse. 266
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Buffon - Hummingbirds
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 261
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 261
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 247
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Passeri - Grecian Vase. 247
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Est: $200- $500
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 291
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Passeri - Grecian Vase. 291
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Est: $200- $500
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 251
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Passeri - Grecian Vase. 251
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $200- $500
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 201
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Passeri - Grecian Vase. 201
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
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Passeri - Grecian Vase. 299
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Passeri - Grecian Vase. 299
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Piranesi - Temple of Venus (Tempio di Venere appresso il Circo Apollinare)
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Piranesi - Temple of Venus (Tempio di Venere appresso il Circo Apollinare)
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Est: $200- $400
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FOUR COLORFUL FISH PRINTS
Oct 19, 3:30 PM CEST
FOUR COLORFUL FISH PRINTS
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Est: €120- €200
€1200 Bids
FOUR COLORFUL FISH PRINTS
Oct 19, 3:30 PM CEST
FOUR COLORFUL FISH PRINTS
by Casa d'aste ARCADIA
Est: €120- €200
€1200 Bids
Dennis Lyall (TX,CT,b 1946) oil painting
Nov 14, 11:45 AM EST
Dennis Lyall (TX,CT,b 1946) oil painting
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Est: $600- $750
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Gilbert Gaul Oil on Canvas, Military Scouting Party
Oct 23, 9:00 AM EDT
Gilbert Gaul Oil on Canvas, Military Scouting Party
by Case Antiques, Inc. Auctions & Appraisals
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MIQUEL BARCELÓ ARTIGUES (Felanitx, Mallorca, 1957).
Oct 19, 2:00 PM CEST
MIQUEL BARCELÓ ARTIGUES (Felanitx, Mallorca, 1957).
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Est: €300,000- €350,000
€150,0000 Bids
Brian Sanders (UK,b 1937) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Brian Sanders (UK,b 1937) watercolor painting
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Est: $500- $650
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Sellers Who Sell Natural History Prints


Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books

Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books

Hindman

Hindman

Art Atelier

Art Atelier

KCM Galleries

KCM Galleries