Edward Lear (18121888).
Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots.
London: Published by the author, 1832
Stuart Collection, Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library
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.