Hand-colored lithograph
Edward Lear (1812—1888).
Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots.
London: Published by the author, 1832
Stuart Collection, Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library

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Best known today for his "nonsense books," created after he began to lose his sight, Edward Lear was one of the finest bird painters. This work was his first project, begun when he was only eighteen years of age. It was also the first illustrated work of ornithology devoted to a single family of birds, and the first English bird folio book to be produced using lithographed plates (printed by Charles Joseph Hullmandel) that were then colored by hand. Wherever possible, Lear worked from live birds at the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens in London. When it was completed, his Parrots established a format and style that was made famous by John Gould, for whom Lear worked following its publication. Shown here is the Hyancinthine macaw or Macrocereus hyancinthinus.

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