Representing the Wild: 19th & 20th Century Illustrations of Birds & Animals

Our current exhibition, now on display in the library til September 26th, features a collection of early illustrated ornithology and natural history books, on extended loan from the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.  Among these are American Ornithology by Alexander Wilson, 1808; American Ornithology by Charles Lucian Bonaparte, 1825-33; The Birds of North America by John James Audubon, 1840-44; Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America by John James Audubon, 1845-48; and the Game Birds and Shooting Sketches by John Guille Millais, 1892.  These books document newly discovered North American species of birds and animals and were important resources for Europeans, hungry to learn more of America’s untamed wilderness.  Hand-colored engravings and unique written descriptions reflect the scholarship and artistic talents of these significant 19th century American naturalists.  If you wish to take a closer look at additional volumes of these sets which are not currently in the display cases, stop by Special Collections on the second floor, Room 223, Monday through Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm.

The exhibit also features drawings of birds and plants by former RISD students in Edna Lawrence’s Nature Drawing classes from the 1930’s to the 1960’s and taxidermy specimens from RISD’s Edna Lawrence Nature Lab.        LWC


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