Epimachus Speciosus [Great Sickle Billed Bird of Paradise]

£1,800

Original Hand-Coloured Lithograph by W.M. Hart for Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise, and Ptilonorhynchidae, or Bower-birds. London: 1891-1898.

One of the most dramatic and attractive plates from this work, in fine condition.

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Original Hand-Coloured Lithograph by W.M. Hart for Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise, and Ptilonorhynchidae, or Bower-birds. London: 1891-1898.

One of the most dramatic and attractive plates from this work, in fine condition.

Richard Bowdler Sharpe worked at the Zoology Department at the British Museum. During this time, he had worked with John Gould on The Birds of New Guinea. After Gould died, Sharpe decided to finish the work. The result are these superb hand coloured lithographic plates showing various birds with their highly colourful and sweeping plumage. These prints are considered some of the most beautiful bird illustrations ever produced. The last of the great bird books of the nineteenth century.

William Matthew Hart (1830-1908) bird illustrator and lithographer who worked for John Gould.

Hart started medical training but was unable to complete his studies for financial reasons. He began working for Gould in 1851, beginning an association that was to last thirty years. Early during this period, he made the patterns for the lithographic plates for Gould’s work on Hummingbirds, as well as working on The Birds of Great Britain with Henry Constantine Richter. By 1870 Hart had become Gould’s chief artist and lithographer. After Gould’s death in 1881, Hart was employed by Richard Bowdler-Sharpe of the British Museum to complete Gould’s work on the Birds of New Guinea and to produce illustrations for Sharpe’s great work Monograph on the Birds of Paradise.

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