Foreword and acknowledgments by Marilyn Laufer
Introductory essay by Ron Tyler
Contributions by James B. Armstrong, Scott Bishop, Robert A. Gitzen, Dennis Harper, Christopher A. Lepczyk, Daniel Patterson, and Sarah Zohdy
John James Audubon's Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America is the largest and most significant colour plate book printed in the United States in the 19th century, and a fitting monument to the genius of America’s most famous ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. Measuring an impressive ca. 27 ½ × 21 ¼ inches, the Quadrupeds was first published in 1849 as a three-volume elephant folio broadsheet edition, and was the artist’s final great natural history work.
This new volume reproduces all 150 original, hand-coloured lithographic prints, which have been subject to recent conservation, and includes a timeline of Audubon’s life and career. It also features a map of his 1843 expedition into the pre-settlement wilderness. Essays by noted experts in the fields of art history, conservation, and life science put this remarkable series of illustrations in context, explaining its art historical and scientific legacy. They consider the enduring zoological and ecological significance of the Quadrupeds folios, including their scientific value to issues such as classification, and how our relationship towards nature has changed since the 1840s.
The volume additionally includes transcripts from the journal kept by Edward Harris, cashier to the 1843 expedition, describing the everyday details of their journey and the animals they encountered, as well as a letter, written in 1851, from Audubon’s son Victor to Harris, detailing the circumstances of his father’s death.
This entire work is a remarkable record highlighting the wider importance of the North American wilderness and the significance and beauty of Audubon’s detailed illustrations.
Ron Tyler is the former director of the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.
Marilyn Laufer is director at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Alabama.
Charles T. Butler is director emeritus of the Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia.
Dennis Harper is curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Alabama.
Daniel Patterson is professor emeritus of English Language and Literature, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant.
Sarah Zohdy is an assistant professor at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Alabama.
Robert A. Gitzen is an assistant professor at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Alabama.
James B. Armstrong is a professor at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Alabama.
Christopher A. Lepczyk is a professor at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Alabama.