[Surnia Funeria - Northern Hawk Owl.]
[London: John Gould, 1863-73.]
Lithograph with exceptional original hand colour. Image area 400 x 290mm (15¾ x 11½"). Trimmed at bottom, losing title and inscriptions, small tear in upper margin.
The Northern Hawk-Owl, one of the few diurnal owls, found across the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including America. Sadly the example illustrated must have been one of the last British residents: the last recorded example here was c.1865. Fortunately the species is not on the world-wide danger list. This plate was published in John Gould's monumental ornithological book, 'The Birds of Great Britain', which was issued in parts between 1863 and 1873. The quality of the hand colouring is superb, something Gould stressed: in the introduction to this work he wrote 'every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were coloured by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought’.
[Ref: 28786] £450.00