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Edward Lear. The Parrots. The Complete Plates

Hardcover, 9.4 x 12.9 in., 2.94 lb, 152 pages
US$ 40
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Originally reproduced in only 175 precious sets and limited to Britain’s highest elite, this stunning masterpiece of scientific illustration history is now available to all. Drawing from live parrots, Edward Lear (1812–1888) created lifelike illustrations so dazzling they earned him the honor of teaching his craft to Queen Victoria. This collection assembles his finest achievements for all to admire.

Customer reviews (5)

Brilliant Plumage

An unsurpassed monument in the history of scientific illustration
Edward Lear may be best known for his nonsense verse, but in his early years he excelled as an illustrator of birds and reptiles. This set of 42 hand-colored lithographs, originally entitled Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots, was the finest achievement of his relatively brief career as a natural history draftsman, before failing eyesight led him to concentrate on his writing.

During Lear’s time, live parrots were rare and much sought-after, bought and sold for large sums by wealthy amateurs of natural history, and prized by 19th century European aristocracy for their astonishing plumage and mimickry of the human voice. Naturally, fine drawings of them were also highly prized. One of the first collections entirely dedicated to the species, Parrots includes African, Australian, and American parrots bred by eminent ornithologists such as Sir William Jardine and Prideaux John Selby, who sponsored Lear, inspiring and directing his work.

Unlike other avian illustrators who often worked with stuffed birds, the young and prodigiously talented Lear (1812–1888) made his drawings from live parrots, capturing their expressions and movements in remarkably lifelike illustrations. The new medium of hand-colored lithography facilitated the vivid elegance of Lear’s work.

This exquisite collection was originally reproduced in only 175 precious sets and sold by subscription to Britain’s most eminent scholars and wealthy collectors of living parrots. The Psittacidae established Lear as a celebrated illustrator, and professor of drawing to the young Queen Victoria. With a brief zoological introduction and written descriptions of each bird, this title revives TASCHEN's XL-sized edition to a more accessible, optimized format, bringing Lear’s parrots back to life for all to admire.
The author

Francesco Solinas, born in Rome and educated at the University of Pisa, is Maître de Conférences at the Collège de France, Paris. He is the author of numerous books, catalogues and essays on 17th century Roman art and culture, as well as works on Italian aristocratic collections of the Medici, Barberini, Frescobaldi and Theodoli.

Edward Lear. The Parrots. The Complete Plates
Hardcover, 9.4 x 12.9 in., 2.94 lb, 152 pages

Customer reviews (5)

Parrots

Botond, October 29, 2021
A large, high-quality album about these fantastic birds, with lots and lots of colorful lifelike drawings and text descriptions in addition.

A gem

André, October 27, 2021
Beautifully illustrated

Some of the best bird paintings you'll ever see

Martin, October 27, 2021
Beautiful reproduction of the 42 handcolored lithographs of Edward Lear. To get material for his book Lear studied these magnificent birds at the London Zoo. He was only 18 years old when he started his endeavour and by the age of 20 he published 175 copies of this book that is now available for all to enjoy.
This in a nicely bound edition for which a thick, good quality paper was used that even has a little relief to it. It makes the drawings stand out rather beautiful.

Colorful

Raul, October 27, 2021
The paper has a great feeling - the book itself is well done, also the printing, not to huge as used with this series and kind of reproductions by Taschen

Stunning

John, October 27, 2021
This is a large book printed on high quality paper, the illustrations are vibrant and the text informative. If you're at all interested in art history or the psittacines then I don't think you'd be disappointed in the book.