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19th C. Colored Engraving "Short Eared Owl" J. Selby

Prideaux John Selby (British, 1788-1867), "Short Eared Owl" - engraving with hand coloring, plate XXI from "Illustrated British Ornithology", Edinburgh: Daniel Lizars and London: Longman, Rees, Orme, ca. 1818 to 1823. A wonderful engraving of a Short-Eared Owl with remarkably realistic details and vibrant coloring. Just look at that plumage - and the way the bird's right talon is gripping the terrain below and his left talon is lifted as if about to land. The Short-Eared Owl (Asio flammeus) of the familiy Strigidae has tufts of feathers that resemble mammalian ears - hence its name. Many experts are impressed by the crispness and clarity of Selby's figures. His birds are regarded as among the most accurate delineations of British birds, as well as the liveliest, offering a refreshing style that departed from the stiffer portrayals of earlier works. Size: plate 16" L x 10" W (40.6 cm x 25.4 cm); sheet 18" L x 12.625" W (45.7 cm x 32.1 cm)

From a very early age, Selby demonstrated a keen interest in ornithology - making his own notes and immensely detailed colored drawings of the birds he observed. As an ornithologist, Selby's major work was "Illustrations of British Ornithology"; its two volumes were published in 19 parts between 1821 and 1833. It included 222 plates etched by Selby, most of which were after his own drawings, with the assistance of his brother-in-law Admiral Robert Mitford.

Selby also contributed to a joint publication entitled, "Illustrations of Ornithology" (1836–43) with Sir William Jardine from 1825 to 1841. Also during this period, Selby wrote the volumes "Pigeons and Parrots" for Jardine's "Naturalist's Library". Furthermore, along with George Johnston, Selby and Jardine founded the "Magazine of Zoology and Botany" in 1836. This publication broadened its scope in 1838 when the title was changed to "Annals of Natural History". Selby contributed articles until 1841, and was an editor until he passed away. What's more, Selby joined the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club not long after it was founded in 1831 and was its president in 1834 and 1844. Selby also contributed numerous papers to the "History of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club" between 1832 and 1859.

cf. Fine Bird Books (1990) p.141; Mullens & Swann p. 519; Nissen IVB 853; cf. Wood pp. 561-562; cf. Zimmer pp. 571-572, cf. C. Jackson, Bird Etchings, 1985.

Condition: Strong engraving with vibrant hand coloring. Minor creases and toning to paper. Tiny nicks to edges. Comes with mat.

Provenance: private Lucille Lucas collection, Crested Butte, Colorado, USA

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