Biographical / Historical
John James Audubon was born in Saint Domingue, present day Haiti, in 1785, and was raised in Nantes France by his stepmother, where he took an active interest in birds, nature, drawing, and music. In 1803, Audubon was sent to America to avoid conscription. He lived on a family-owned estated at Mill Grove, located near Philadelphia. While there he married his wife, Lucy Bakewell, and continued to draw birds. After experiencing some hard times, including being jailed for banctrupcy in 1819, Audubon began his project to draw America's avifauna that resulted in the The American Woodsman, which features life-size portraits of birds accompanied by embellished descriptions of his life in the wilderness. After his 1826 debut of The American Woodsman in England, Audubon discovered a printer for Birds of America in Edinburgh, then London, and later successfully collaborated with William MacGilivray, a Scottish ornithologist, on the Ornithological Biographies of each species depicted. The last print of Birds of America was issued in 1838.
The James Audubon Birds of America prints collection are re-printed by the Johnson Reprint Corporation and the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum on 100% pure cotton rag paper with the original Audubon watermark. A multicolor offset lithography process using up to eight different colors was employed to print the illustations of birds, and the project was supervised by edits from the United States Department of the Interior, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Audubon Society.