John Gould 1804-1881
In the world of bird prints, the figure of John Gould looms large. He is best known in this country for his The Birds of Australia, a beautiful and impressive work which was published unbound in parts, and issued to subscribers between 1840 and 1848.

It consists of 600 lithographs, which were meticulously hand-coloured, strictly in accord with Gould’s instructions. Only 250 sets were produced. Most of these are held by institutions around the world. It has been estimated that perhaps only 70 sets have ever been available for private sale.  A supplement of 81 rarer birds was added between 1851 and 1869.

Gould is often referred to as the Father of Australian Ornithology and The Bird Man. He created over forty illustrated books of the birds and mammals of the world. Many of the approximately 3,000 superb illustrations for which he was responsible rank among the finest ever produced. These are considered, of course, as collectors’ items.

Gould was a successful businessman who had a great ability to organise artists and crafts people to obtain the high results he required. Under his constant supervision, his main artists – wife Elizabeth Gould, Edward Lear of The Book of Nonsense fame, H.C. Richter, William Hart, and Joseph Wolf – made drawings and watercolours from Gould’s rough sketches. These were copied onto the lithographic stones from which the prints were produced. These stones were wiped clean after the required numbers of prints were made.

Facsimiles, whether by laser or other modern methods, have not been created in the same way, and as such have no intrinsic value, nor will they have in the future.

Full Circle’s prints are all guaranteed as original John Gould lithographs.

For other Gould monographs, please see Mammals
in Other Animal Classes.




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