Birds: The Art of Ornithology (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Here’s a book not only for birders, but lovers of art and biographies. While I did, indeed spend hours just marveling at the detailed illustrations of the birds, their nests, and their eggs, I also enjoyed reading the history. I found Elphick’s writing approachable and soon was caught up the in voyages that allowed these artists, known and unknown to us, the chance to paint. What makes this a truly magnificent gift is the sumptuous prints included in this box set.

— Susan


This breathtaking collection of important and beautiful ornithological art from London’s Natural History Museum traces its development from the Renaissance through the scientific approach favored in the Age of Exploration. Included are brilliantly reproduced artworks by the world’s great naturalists and scientists such as Audubon and Humboldt, along with the legion of Victorian explorers who catalogued the world’s avifauna before photography finally prevailed as the primary means of recording the natural world. The lively and informative text tells how ornithological art grew out of the naturalistic tradition of European painting to become a genre of its own where the artist’s focus on aesthetics was married to the scientist’s need for precision and detail. Weaving together science, art history, biography, and travel, it paints a wondrous picture of a bygone world of artist-scientists, exotic birds, and faraway lands, making it truly the perfect gift for anyone who loves vintage prints and drawings or has an interest in nature or birding.

About the Author

Jonathan Elphick has a degree in zoology and is a popular writer, journalist, and broadcaster specializing in natural history and science. His Birdwatchers' Handbook (BBC Books, 2001) is now in its second edition and won Bird Watching Magazine's 1997 award for best field guide.

Praise For…

"If you are someone who combines an appreciation of art with an enjoyment of wild birds, you will find this book sweet." ~Maine Antique Digest

"If your knowledge of bird art is limited to Audubon, Sibley and Peterson, the parade of characters who walk across its pages will be a revelation." ~The New York Times

"...any birder or artist would enjoy this book as an inexpensive gift with the holidays coming up, and the volume will surely fit snugly into a Christmas stocking."

Product Details
ISBN: 9780847831340
ISBN-10: 0847831345
Publisher: Rizzoli International Publications
Publication Date: May 13th, 2008
Pages: 336
Language: English