Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Things I like: Audubon Octavo prints.

I love birds.

I have several bird feeders in the 'secret garden' outside my little office and breakfast room area. Thanks to my mom, I have a wonderful collection of crystal and porcelain bird figurines.

Several years ago I became interested in antique Audubon prints from the Octavo edition of his Birds of America.

I learned a lot about the engravings from this coffee table book

John James Audubon was a naturalist who lived from 1785-1851. Between 1827 and 1838 he published a series of four volumes containing his 500 paintings of the Birds of America engraved in life size. Each volume weighed almost 70 pounds! From 1840-1844 these engraving were released in a smaller size in his Birds of America - Octavo edition. The pages of this book were 7 x 10½ inches as opposed to 25 x 38 in the original edition (known as the double-elephant folio). It is pages from the Octavo edition that I have collected and framed.

The prints hang above the piano in our living room.


Sorry about the glare

Some of the prints I chose because of their colors,


but in most of them, either the bird or the plant featured had significance to me.

This little 'Bonaparte's Flycatching Warbler' is situated on a magnolia branch. The magnolia is a nod to my roots in the Deep South (others print in my collection chosen for similar reasons feature a dogwood blossom and a cotton boll).


My college sorority's symbol was an owl. I had to search long and hard to find an owl print that wasn't extremely ugly or didn't feature the owl clutching a rodent in its talons.


My very favorite bird is a cardinal, but Audubon's Common Cardinal Grosbeak engraving is very elusive and expensive. It's a fixture on my *dream* list, though, and I have the perfect spot for it in my entry hall.



Laura said...

Oh my, I LOVE those framed pieces all together!!

Anonymous said...

These are very pretty! I'll have to check out the book from the library..

Amber M. said...

That looks amazing...what a good way to use and enjoy your collection!!

The Mrs. said...

Just gorgeous!

Melissa said...


Your living room is beautiful. And, those prints are so elegant.

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. They mean so much to me.


Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

That is an absolutely beautiful collection. I just love how it all works together. A great way to use a book, too...or a calendar...for less expensive art pieces! I might have to steal your idea! :)

cotedetexas said...

Wow - what a beautiful room! I love the bird prints - you did good, I'm very very proud of you!!!!! great design post!!! hahha!!! you are so funny. oh - and i love those chairs too. really a pretty room.


Penny said...

I've been doing a little blog hopping this morning and what a delight to see your beautiful framed bird prints. I'm also a lover of birds. Thanks for the morning eye candy.


Erin said...

Just beautiful! I too love birds!

3 Peanuts said...

These are really beautful. I have several botanicals but I now will be looking for some of these. REALLY lovely.

Hopsy said...

I have VERY similar prints that I did myself too. I used these large, high quality, think paper calendars by Cavalini. If you are ever in the market to do another easy project I highly suggest looking at their calendars. They have vinatge maps, florals, Virgin and Child, etc. Paper Source in NP has the best selection I have ever seen so stop in when you are there next!