Library Catalog - Kentucky Historical Society

Object Record

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Object Name Print
Title Le Petit Caporal
Catalog Number 1939.38.3
Creator Audubon, John James
Date 1829
Material(s) Paper
Dimensions H-39.5 W-28.5 inches
Description This is print number 15, Plate 75, of the series Birds of America, titled "Le petit Caporal." The tinted lithograph was made from a copperplate engraving and aquatint and was then colored by hand with watercolour. The image depicts the central figure of a merlin perched on top of a weathered piece of wood with green ivy curling around the wood. The bird is depicted in profile and shows gray, black and white feathers with a spotted appearance on the chest. The top left of the engraving bears the inscription "No. 15." and the top right bears the inscription "PLATE 75." Beneath the ivy is the inscription "Le petit Caporal, Falco Termerarius, Male." On the bottom left of the engraving are the words "Drawn from Nature and Published by J.J. Audubon, F.R.S.E, F.L.S, M.W.S." and on the bottom right are the words "Engraved by R. Havell Junr. and Printed and Coloured by R. Havell Senr., London, 1829."
Notes The Birds of America were drawn by John James Audubon when he was in his 30s. It was Audubon's intention to draw every bird in North America. He ran out of funds after he completed number 435. Audubon then sought to publish his work as a book and a print series. After exhibiting his drawings in Liverpool and Manchester, he journeyed to Edinburgh, where he met the engraver William H. Lizars. Lizars engraved up to ten of the first plates. In 1827, Audubon engaged the noted London animal engraver Robert Havell Sr. who was known for his natural history engravings. Robert Havell Sr. brought his son Robert Havell Jr. to the project and Robert Havell, Jr. did many of the engravings and oversaw the project through to its completion in 1838.
Media Links University of Pennsylvania article about Audubon's Birds of America
National Audubon Society's Website on Audubon's Birds of America
Biography of engraver Robert Havell, Jr.
Biography of John James Audubon from the National Audubon Society
Collection KHS Museum Collection
People Audubon, John James
Havell, Jr., Robert
Havell, Sr., Robert
Subjects Lithographs
Physical Holder Kentucky Historical Society - KHS