john gould F.R.S. Ornithologist

A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds

John Gould (1804-1881) was a top bod in English ornithology, curator of the Zoological Society of London and identifier of Darwin’s finches. He also loved hummingbirds.

Although he’d never seen a live hummingbird – he would see his first in 1857 – Gould had a collection of 320 species. These he exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, garnering public interest and subscribers to his Monograph of the Trochilidæ, which was issued in 25 parts between 1849 and 1861 and subsequently published in 5 volumes.

The illustrations – lithographed by Henry Constantine Richter and William Hart from sketches by Gould – are as delicate and beautifully coloured as the little birds themselves.

There are over 400 plates and I must use them all. However, since I don’t think Zazzle is ready for that many hummingbird products all in one go, I’m going to use one illustration a week.

This week….

 

Cyanomyia franciae – Francia’s Azure-Crown – on Cuphea cordata

John Gould prints, posters, cards, postcards, notebooks

From Mr Gould’s description;

“Of the five or six known species of the genus Cyanomyia the C. Franciae may be regarded as the most beautiful….The glittering of the parts referred to is so resplendent, that it is out of the power of any person, I believe, to portray them; hence art and device are in this instance at a nonplus. In the accompanying plate a representation of these feathers is attempted with the ordinary media. If the reader can imagine the neck-plumes to be lit up with the most brilliant and glittering light possible, he may have some faint idea of their loveliness….”

John Gould - A Monograph of the Trochilidæ

Please click on the poster below to see posters, cards, postcards and notebooks featuring these gorgeous little birds. Thanks for visiting 🙂

Cyanomyia franciae - Francia's Azure-Crown - on Cuphea cordata

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