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John J. Audubon ALS Discussing Field Study, Specimen
Item Details
Description
Audubon John

John J. Audubon ALS Discussing Field Study, Specimen Collection & Illustration of The Quadrupeds of North America

Two letters, one by John J. Audubon (1785-1851), the noted ornithologist, naturalist, and artist, and one by his eldest son, Victor Gifford Audubon (1809-1862), inscribed on both sides of pale blue bifold stationery and addressed to family friend Dr. Benjamin Phillips. Matted and framed behind UV ray filtering Plexiglas. The second and third pages are exhibited within a floating mount recto, to the left of a print of John J. Audubon with facsimile signature. The letter and integral address leaf are displayed in full by virtue of a peekaboo window verso. Not examined out of frame. The letter, laid flat, measures 15.5" x 10" while the overall framed size is 34" x 20" x 1.5". Accompanied by a catalog from Lion Heart Autographs, Inc. (New York, New York).

The first letter, a 2.5pp autograph letter signed by John J. Audubon as “John J. Audubon” on the top of the third page, was written in Minnie’s Land, New York on November 25, 1845. Victor Gifford Audubon penned a 1.5pp autograph letter signed by him as “V. G. Audubon” on the fourth page (the signature is only partially visible within the frame), written three days later in New York City. Philatelic markings are visible on the address leaf, and there are remnants of red wax seal. Expected paper folds, some well-creased and with corresponding minor closed tears. Light soiling to the last page, else near fine. Extremely handsome and ready to hang!

Original spelling and punctuation have been safeguarded, and paragraph breaks have been added for increased legibility.

John J. Audubon writes in part:

"I have been so very long without writing to you, that I am quite ashamed of myself; but I do now intend to make 'amand honourable' by giving you all the chitchat that I can sum up.

The first object is that our son John has gone to the Texas, and perhaps into California after Quadrupeds for our work; he left us Sunday two weeks and we have had two letters from him, one from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the other from Cincinnati, Ohio. He was on the eve of proceeding down to Louisville in Kentucky, his native state, and probably might remain several days at that place. We procured excellent letters for him from the Government, and from General Scott, the Commander in Chief of the United States Army. He insured his life before he went for Ten thousand dollars for the sake of his wife & children, and has the privilege of going into Mexico (should he think it necessary) as far as the parallel of 25 degrees. His wife and children 4 are all well; he has now three daughters and a fine boy, who was baptized after my own name; and who I hope will never be the President of our U. States!

My old & dearest friend is again in good health, her attacks are not so frequent as when in London and seldom last more than one hour, and we hope that she will be dispended of them in the course of the next year. We have had the most beautiful and lengthy autumn we can remember and yesterday morning may be safely said to have been the first day of Winter. This morning the thermoteur was down to 25° but we had a white frost, and now expect rain in a day or two. We still keep improving our place; we have enlarged our barn, built cowsheds; pig sties etc. have an abundance of fowls and ducks, and the first rainy day we’ll kill a hog weighing about 900 lbs. We have had a good deal of good fishing this season, now however…is put up for the winter. We have planted a great quantity of fine fruit trees, and many will bear the next summer. We have the greatest abundance of strawberries both red and white imaginable. This very month Johny’s wife picked firm red ones quite ripe and delicious. We have all sorts of small fruits equally abundant! From 2 small pear trees I gathered 75 delicious pears, imported (the trees) from “La Belle France” and we have standards amounting to several hundred peach trees, apples, quince, etc. etc.

We expect John to return to us in March or April next; though he is not to hurry himself on this journey, as it will be an expensive one to us all. He is accompanied by one of our men servant, and has the company of a young neighbor of ours. He took abundances of good guns with him; and as all is perfectly quiet in the regions he will visit; we feel but little anxiety as regards his personal safety. Do you remember that Mr. Cooper offered to paint for me a figure of the musk ox? Now if you have time to see him, and tell him that I will give him the price he asked at the time (say 16 pounds) for a male and female of those animals, he may begin them all as soon as he pleases. Someone in England (London) will pay his bill no doubt, but I should like to have them in good attitudes and not as if stuffed! Our work progresses well as usual, and I am perplexed that we have so very few subscribers in great London. I am now drawing some spermophiles [ground squirrels] for the work, and have finished nearly one figure this short day!

As perhaps Victor may write a few additional lines to this, I will close with love to your dear lady and son, and kind remembrances to your good brother, and with the blessings of an old friend will remain as ever yours most sincerely attached…"

Victor Audubon writes in part:

"I have but little to add to my father’s letter to you – except that knowing your time to be much taken up, I have written to Mr. Burnell to attend to procuring a figure of the musk ox for us from Mr. T. G. Cooper, or some other good artist, the more especially as Mr. Burnell had some many on hand for us. I should like to hear how you like the last numbers of the work sent out, viz. 12, 13 & 14.

My mother feels great anxiety about John, but we hope no accident will happen, and expect a good deal of information from him. My father is not so energetic as he used to be, but both he and my mother are in pretty good health. My wife will be confined some time near the end of the year, when I shall have a Christmas present. It seems probable that either John or myself will visit England next spring, but this will depend on circumstances that are yet uncertain in this issue.

We are engaged in the first volume of letter-press, but it will not be ready before February or March. I shall lose no time when it is out, in forwarding you several copies. We all regret to hear how great a scarcity is apprehended in Ireland & other parts of Europe owing to the potatoe disease. We have the same disease in several parts of our country, but have plenty of other food, altho’ as a drawback the approaching winter bids fair to be colder than usual…"

For The Quadrupeds of North America, Audubon enlisted the help of both his sons, Victor Gifford Audubon as a background artist and fundraiser, and John Woodhouse Audubon (1812-1862) as an artist and amanuensis. In 1845, John made a second expedition to Texas, the one referred to in our letter, and stayed through 1846 collecting specimens for the project. The Texas quadrupeds included in the finished work are the Orange-bellied Squirrel, the Cotton Rat, the Collared Peccary, and the Black-Tailed Hare. Audubon refers to a request for a drawing of a musk ox from an artist in England, most likely because a suitable specimen could not be found in the wild. In fact, the paucity of specimens is noted in the that accompanies the musk ox illustration, plate number 111. “We know this peculiar animal only from the specimen in the British Museum, from which our figures are drawn, and which is the only one hitherto sent to Europe... The Musk Ox is remarkable among animals for never having had more than one specific name… Captain Parry saw it on Melville Island in the month of May; it must therefore be regarded as an animal the native home of which is within the Arctic Circle, the dwelling place of the Esqimaux” (The Quadrupeds of North America, Audubon).

In the letter, Audubon also mentions that he is in the midst of drawing “some spermophiles”; the Douglass ground squirrel can be found on plate 49, and Richardson’s ground squirrel can be found on plate 50. Like The Birds of America, The Quadrupeds of North America was a multivolume work the first edition of which was issued between 1849 and 1854; his sons agreed to publish several volumes after the death of their father, carrying on the work he began.

Audubon's famous studies of North American birds began following his arrival in the United States at the age of 18, where he attempted to establish a business career. Lacking the necessary entrepreneurial skills, Audubon vigorously pursued his artwork, and by 1824 he was seeking a publisher. Audubon found acceptance in Europe where he finally published his four-volume Birds of America between 1827 and 1838. After its publication he returned to New York, settled on his estate, “Minniesland” and prepared a smaller edition of the Birds of America. He then turned his attention to similar works in which he catalogued and depicted the mammals of North America.

The Audubons' correspondent, Dr. Benjamin Phillips, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and original owner of one of three specially bound copies of the double elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, currently held by Chicago’s Field Museum.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

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John J. Audubon ALS Discussing Field Study, Specimen

Estimate $3,000 - $3,500
May 06, 2020
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Starting Price $1,000
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0011: John J. Audubon ALS Discussing Field Study, Specimen

Sold for $8,500
31 Bids
Est. $3,000 - $3,500Starting Price $1,000
Rare Collectibles Forbes II, Kerouac III
May 06, 2020 10:30 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 0011 Details

Description
...
Audubon John

John J. Audubon ALS Discussing Field Study, Specimen Collection & Illustration of The Quadrupeds of North America

Two letters, one by John J. Audubon (1785-1851), the noted ornithologist, naturalist, and artist, and one by his eldest son, Victor Gifford Audubon (1809-1862), inscribed on both sides of pale blue bifold stationery and addressed to family friend Dr. Benjamin Phillips. Matted and framed behind UV ray filtering Plexiglas. The second and third pages are exhibited within a floating mount recto, to the left of a print of John J. Audubon with facsimile signature. The letter and integral address leaf are displayed in full by virtue of a peekaboo window verso. Not examined out of frame. The letter, laid flat, measures 15.5" x 10" while the overall framed size is 34" x 20" x 1.5". Accompanied by a catalog from Lion Heart Autographs, Inc. (New York, New York).

The first letter, a 2.5pp autograph letter signed by John J. Audubon as “John J. Audubon” on the top of the third page, was written in Minnie’s Land, New York on November 25, 1845. Victor Gifford Audubon penned a 1.5pp autograph letter signed by him as “V. G. Audubon” on the fourth page (the signature is only partially visible within the frame), written three days later in New York City. Philatelic markings are visible on the address leaf, and there are remnants of red wax seal. Expected paper folds, some well-creased and with corresponding minor closed tears. Light soiling to the last page, else near fine. Extremely handsome and ready to hang!

Original spelling and punctuation have been safeguarded, and paragraph breaks have been added for increased legibility.

John J. Audubon writes in part:

"I have been so very long without writing to you, that I am quite ashamed of myself; but I do now intend to make 'amand honourable' by giving you all the chitchat that I can sum up.

The first object is that our son John has gone to the Texas, and perhaps into California after Quadrupeds for our work; he left us Sunday two weeks and we have had two letters from him, one from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the other from Cincinnati, Ohio. He was on the eve of proceeding down to Louisville in Kentucky, his native state, and probably might remain several days at that place. We procured excellent letters for him from the Government, and from General Scott, the Commander in Chief of the United States Army. He insured his life before he went for Ten thousand dollars for the sake of his wife & children, and has the privilege of going into Mexico (should he think it necessary) as far as the parallel of 25 degrees. His wife and children 4 are all well; he has now three daughters and a fine boy, who was baptized after my own name; and who I hope will never be the President of our U. States!

My old & dearest friend is again in good health, her attacks are not so frequent as when in London and seldom last more than one hour, and we hope that she will be dispended of them in the course of the next year. We have had the most beautiful and lengthy autumn we can remember and yesterday morning may be safely said to have been the first day of Winter. This morning the thermoteur was down to 25° but we had a white frost, and now expect rain in a day or two. We still keep improving our place; we have enlarged our barn, built cowsheds; pig sties etc. have an abundance of fowls and ducks, and the first rainy day we’ll kill a hog weighing about 900 lbs. We have had a good deal of good fishing this season, now however…is put up for the winter. We have planted a great quantity of fine fruit trees, and many will bear the next summer. We have the greatest abundance of strawberries both red and white imaginable. This very month Johny’s wife picked firm red ones quite ripe and delicious. We have all sorts of small fruits equally abundant! From 2 small pear trees I gathered 75 delicious pears, imported (the trees) from “La Belle France” and we have standards amounting to several hundred peach trees, apples, quince, etc. etc.

We expect John to return to us in March or April next; though he is not to hurry himself on this journey, as it will be an expensive one to us all. He is accompanied by one of our men servant, and has the company of a young neighbor of ours. He took abundances of good guns with him; and as all is perfectly quiet in the regions he will visit; we feel but little anxiety as regards his personal safety. Do you remember that Mr. Cooper offered to paint for me a figure of the musk ox? Now if you have time to see him, and tell him that I will give him the price he asked at the time (say 16 pounds) for a male and female of those animals, he may begin them all as soon as he pleases. Someone in England (London) will pay his bill no doubt, but I should like to have them in good attitudes and not as if stuffed! Our work progresses well as usual, and I am perplexed that we have so very few subscribers in great London. I am now drawing some spermophiles [ground squirrels] for the work, and have finished nearly one figure this short day!

As perhaps Victor may write a few additional lines to this, I will close with love to your dear lady and son, and kind remembrances to your good brother, and with the blessings of an old friend will remain as ever yours most sincerely attached…"

Victor Audubon writes in part:

"I have but little to add to my father’s letter to you – except that knowing your time to be much taken up, I have written to Mr. Burnell to attend to procuring a figure of the musk ox for us from Mr. T. G. Cooper, or some other good artist, the more especially as Mr. Burnell had some many on hand for us. I should like to hear how you like the last numbers of the work sent out, viz. 12, 13 & 14.

My mother feels great anxiety about John, but we hope no accident will happen, and expect a good deal of information from him. My father is not so energetic as he used to be, but both he and my mother are in pretty good health. My wife will be confined some time near the end of the year, when I shall have a Christmas present. It seems probable that either John or myself will visit England next spring, but this will depend on circumstances that are yet uncertain in this issue.

We are engaged in the first volume of letter-press, but it will not be ready before February or March. I shall lose no time when it is out, in forwarding you several copies. We all regret to hear how great a scarcity is apprehended in Ireland & other parts of Europe owing to the potatoe disease. We have the same disease in several parts of our country, but have plenty of other food, altho’ as a drawback the approaching winter bids fair to be colder than usual…"

For The Quadrupeds of North America, Audubon enlisted the help of both his sons, Victor Gifford Audubon as a background artist and fundraiser, and John Woodhouse Audubon (1812-1862) as an artist and amanuensis. In 1845, John made a second expedition to Texas, the one referred to in our letter, and stayed through 1846 collecting specimens for the project. The Texas quadrupeds included in the finished work are the Orange-bellied Squirrel, the Cotton Rat, the Collared Peccary, and the Black-Tailed Hare. Audubon refers to a request for a drawing of a musk ox from an artist in England, most likely because a suitable specimen could not be found in the wild. In fact, the paucity of specimens is noted in the that accompanies the musk ox illustration, plate number 111. “We know this peculiar animal only from the specimen in the British Museum, from which our figures are drawn, and which is the only one hitherto sent to Europe... The Musk Ox is remarkable among animals for never having had more than one specific name… Captain Parry saw it on Melville Island in the month of May; it must therefore be regarded as an animal the native home of which is within the Arctic Circle, the dwelling place of the Esqimaux” (The Quadrupeds of North America, Audubon).

In the letter, Audubon also mentions that he is in the midst of drawing “some spermophiles”; the Douglass ground squirrel can be found on plate 49, and Richardson’s ground squirrel can be found on plate 50. Like The Birds of America, The Quadrupeds of North America was a multivolume work the first edition of which was issued between 1849 and 1854; his sons agreed to publish several volumes after the death of their father, carrying on the work he began.

Audubon's famous studies of North American birds began following his arrival in the United States at the age of 18, where he attempted to establish a business career. Lacking the necessary entrepreneurial skills, Audubon vigorously pursued his artwork, and by 1824 he was seeking a publisher. Audubon found acceptance in Europe where he finally published his four-volume Birds of America between 1827 and 1838. After its publication he returned to New York, settled on his estate, “Minniesland” and prepared a smaller edition of the Birds of America. He then turned his attention to similar works in which he catalogued and depicted the mammals of North America.

The Audubons' correspondent, Dr. Benjamin Phillips, was a Fellow of the Royal Society and original owner of one of three specially bound copies of the double elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, currently held by Chicago’s Field Museum.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.

WE PROVIDE IN-HOUSE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE!

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