Audubon Archive

John James Audubon in America Collection

Lithographer J. T. Bowen of Philadelphia employed various artists to create the smaller plates for the octavo edition. In some cases, they were made using a grid or camera lucida, which projected a reduced image onto paper. In other cases, Audubon himself created new drawings based on the originals or of birds not in the folio edition, such as the Western Meadowlark (included in this collection). Drawings were then transferred onto a lithographic stone by covering them with a sheet of tracing paper held in place by wax, then traced over in red or brown crayon. In some instances, the crayon was applied directly to the drawing. (The drawing of the Downy Woodpecker, in this collection, still bears small pieces of tracing paper and wax.) After the images were transferred, proofs were made to test the accuracy of the drawings and background tints before producing the final prints, which were hand colored.

This collection of drawings and proofs, featuring birds observed and illustrated inside and outside of Louisiana, was purchased with the help of the Friends of the LSU Libraries.