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Audubon - The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America -
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AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851) and Rev. John Bachman (1790-1874).
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
New York: J.J. Audubon (--V.G. Audubon), 1845-1848., 1848.

4 volumes of elephant broadsheets bound as oblong folios (28 x 21 3/4 in.; 55.3 x 71.1 cm). 3 lithographed title-pages and 3 letterpress contents leaves, 150 lithographed plates by J. T. Bowen after John James and James Woodhouse Audubon, backgrounds after Victor Gifford Audubon, handcolored and heightened with gum arabic; titles and contents toned, moderate marginal dust-soiling on most plates, some finger soiling, plates 1, 62, 72, 73, 81 creased chiefly in upper lefthand corner, tape repairs to tiny tears along bottom margins of plates 112-113, small oil stains in gutters of about 13 plates, chiefly in the fourth volume. Contemporary quarter red morocco over brown marbled boards, spines gilt in six compartments lettered "Histoire Naturelle" in the second, numbered in the fourth, and monogrammed in the sixth; extremities rubbed; minor loss to head of spine (vol. 1), vol. 2 head of spine torn but present.

FIRST EDITION OF THE ONE OF THE GREATEST COLORPLATE BOOKS PRODUCED ENTIRELY IN AMERICA IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. After an unsuccessful attempt to secure federal funding for his "Great Western Journey," Audubon determined that the commercial potential of the Quadrupeds was sufficient to risk funding the expedition himself. "To render [the Quadrupeds] more complete, I will leave the comforts of my home and beloved family, bound to the Rocky Mountains I cannot tell how long I may be absent, but look to return loaded up knowledge, new and abundant specimens on the shot and not from stuffed museums' moth-eaten remains. I am told that I am too old to undertake such a long and arduous journey, but having the will, I will no doubt safely bear or even surmount the difficulties" (letter to C. Bonaparte, February, 1843, quoted by Rhodes). To his collaborator the Rev. James Bachman, he exclaimed "I am growing old, but what of this? My spirits are as enthusiastical as ever, my legs full able to carry my body for ten years to come, and in about two of these I expect the illustrations out, and ere the following twelve months have elapsed, their histories studied, their descriptions carefully prepared and the book printed!" (Streshinsky, Audubon: Life and Art in the American Wilderness, p. 332). It was to be J.J. Audubon's last major endeavor. Returning home in late fall of 1843 aged 58 and in declining health, he delegated many of the smaller mammals to his son John Woodhouse to draw and the backgrounds to his youngest, Victor Gifford, who also supervised the printing and publication. Despite Audubon's optimistic timeline for the completed work, it took the family five years to publish 150 plates in thirty parts. The first proofs were ready in 1842, but Audubon was Audubon's lithographer J.T. Bowen was immersed in the production of the octavo set of The Birds of America. The last part of the octavo Birds appeared in May, 1844, and publication of the folio Quadrupeds began immediately, with the first number being issued in January, 1845 and the first volume completed within the year. The accompanying octavo text volumes, written and edited by Rev. John Bachman, first appeared between 1846 and 1854. "The massive project was a commercial success, thanks to the close management of Victor" (Reese), attracting a total number of 300 subscribers.

REFERENCES: Bennett p. 5; McGill/Wood 208; Nissen ZBI 162; Reese 36; Sabin 2367

PROVENANCE: Gilt cypher in sixth spine compartment; J.R. Walsh (stamps on title-pages and contents leaves); Acquired from Nico Isreal, 1978; The Richard Harris Collection: Natural History and Colourplate Books (Bloomsbury, 13 October 2010, lot 3).
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Audubon - The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America -

Estimate $400,000 - $600,000
Mar 27, 2021
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Starting Price $320,000
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0098: Audubon - The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America -

Sold for $440,000
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Est. $400,000 - $600,000Starting Price $320,000
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Mar 27, 2021 1:00 PM EDT
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Lot 0098 Details

Description
...
AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851) and Rev. John Bachman (1790-1874).
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America.
New York: J.J. Audubon (--V.G. Audubon), 1845-1848., 1848.

4 volumes of elephant broadsheets bound as oblong folios (28 x 21 3/4 in.; 55.3 x 71.1 cm). 3 lithographed title-pages and 3 letterpress contents leaves, 150 lithographed plates by J. T. Bowen after John James and James Woodhouse Audubon, backgrounds after Victor Gifford Audubon, handcolored and heightened with gum arabic; titles and contents toned, moderate marginal dust-soiling on most plates, some finger soiling, plates 1, 62, 72, 73, 81 creased chiefly in upper lefthand corner, tape repairs to tiny tears along bottom margins of plates 112-113, small oil stains in gutters of about 13 plates, chiefly in the fourth volume. Contemporary quarter red morocco over brown marbled boards, spines gilt in six compartments lettered "Histoire Naturelle" in the second, numbered in the fourth, and monogrammed in the sixth; extremities rubbed; minor loss to head of spine (vol. 1), vol. 2 head of spine torn but present.

FIRST EDITION OF THE ONE OF THE GREATEST COLORPLATE BOOKS PRODUCED ENTIRELY IN AMERICA IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. After an unsuccessful attempt to secure federal funding for his "Great Western Journey," Audubon determined that the commercial potential of the Quadrupeds was sufficient to risk funding the expedition himself. "To render [the Quadrupeds] more complete, I will leave the comforts of my home and beloved family, bound to the Rocky Mountains I cannot tell how long I may be absent, but look to return loaded up knowledge, new and abundant specimens on the shot and not from stuffed museums' moth-eaten remains. I am told that I am too old to undertake such a long and arduous journey, but having the will, I will no doubt safely bear or even surmount the difficulties" (letter to C. Bonaparte, February, 1843, quoted by Rhodes). To his collaborator the Rev. James Bachman, he exclaimed "I am growing old, but what of this? My spirits are as enthusiastical as ever, my legs full able to carry my body for ten years to come, and in about two of these I expect the illustrations out, and ere the following twelve months have elapsed, their histories studied, their descriptions carefully prepared and the book printed!" (Streshinsky, Audubon: Life and Art in the American Wilderness, p. 332). It was to be J.J. Audubon's last major endeavor. Returning home in late fall of 1843 aged 58 and in declining health, he delegated many of the smaller mammals to his son John Woodhouse to draw and the backgrounds to his youngest, Victor Gifford, who also supervised the printing and publication. Despite Audubon's optimistic timeline for the completed work, it took the family five years to publish 150 plates in thirty parts. The first proofs were ready in 1842, but Audubon was Audubon's lithographer J.T. Bowen was immersed in the production of the octavo set of The Birds of America. The last part of the octavo Birds appeared in May, 1844, and publication of the folio Quadrupeds began immediately, with the first number being issued in January, 1845 and the first volume completed within the year. The accompanying octavo text volumes, written and edited by Rev. John Bachman, first appeared between 1846 and 1854. "The massive project was a commercial success, thanks to the close management of Victor" (Reese), attracting a total number of 300 subscribers.

REFERENCES: Bennett p. 5; McGill/Wood 208; Nissen ZBI 162; Reese 36; Sabin 2367

PROVENANCE: Gilt cypher in sixth spine compartment; J.R. Walsh (stamps on title-pages and contents leaves); Acquired from Nico Isreal, 1978; The Richard Harris Collection: Natural History and Colourplate Books (Bloomsbury, 13 October 2010, lot 3).

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