California Land Tortoise

  • Author: George Edwards
  • Date: 1802
  • Medium: Hand-colored copperplate engraving
  • Condition: Excellent
  • Inches: 8 3/4" x 11 1/4"
  • Centimeters: 22.44 x 28.85
  • Price: $265.00

From A Natural History of Birds, London: T. Rickaby for George Edwards, London, 1802.

George Edwards was an English naturalist and ornithologist, known as the "father of British ornithology".

In 1743 he published the first volume of his A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, the fourth volume of which appeared in 1751, and three supplementary volumes, under the title Gleanings of Natural History, were issued in 1758, 1760 and 1764. The two works contain engravings and descriptions of more than 600 subjects in natural history not before described or delineated. He likewise added a general index in French and English, which was afterwards supplied with Linnaean names by Linnaeus himself, with whom he frequently corresponded.

Edwards was not a professional artist, but was painstaking in his representations of the stuffed birds which he used for reference. He examined and sketched them from many angles to achieve a life-like presentation. For the settings in which he placed the birds, he counseled with painters on composition and the various elements which would suit each bird. Often including insects and more than one bird in a print, Edwards didn't like "too great void spaces" in his compositions. He hand-colored at least a dozen copies of each of the etchings he published, and personally supervised the coloring of others.

Upon examination of these plates, one may clearly see the care and passion with which Edwards approached his life's work.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article George Edwards.
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