| AUDUBON THE MAN | AUDUBON
THE ARTIST | EXPEDITIONS | EDITIONS
| SPECIAL PROGRAMS
from the beginning to reach a wide audience by reproducing his original
watercolors. Examples from the three earliest printed editions are on
view in this exhibit.
Noted for its superb quality in line and color, this first edition was
printed by the Havells, a London family experienced in reproducing zoological
subjects on paper. They worked 11 years (1827-38) to complete the task.
Each print was engraved, aquatinted, and hand colored. The entire set,
containing 435 plates depicting 1065 species, was bound in four huge volumes
(the largest weighing 56 pounds!). The entire collection sold for the
then-staggering sum of $1000.
In 1840-44, J.T. Bowen of Philadelphia copies the Havell prints in seven
less expensive volumes. His plates, reduced in size and traced, omitted
details and lacked the subtle color of the Havell's.
In 1858, Julius Bien printed one volume using the semi-mechanical process
of chromolithography. This brightly colored version is the same size as
the Havell's but cost half as much to produce. The outbreak of the civil
war halted the project, commissioned by Audubon's son John.