This selection of images comes from John James Audubon’s “Birds of America”, printed between 1827 and 1838, which contains 435 life-sized watercolour and pastel North American birds, all reproduced from hand-engraved plates that set a new benchmark for wildlife illustrations. Around the age of 35, he decided to paint every bird in North America. In 1827 Audubon engaged the noted London animal engraver Robert Havell Jr., who oversaw the project through to its completion in 1838. The principal printing technique was copperplate etching, but engraving and aquatint were also used. Watercolour was then added by hand.The original folio was printed on handmade paper 39.5 inches tall by 28.5 inches wide, and it is estimated that not more than 200 complete sets were ever compiled.