- URN: 23.05
Artist Name : FAWCETT, Benjamin
- Artwork Name:
Wilson’s Petrel (Morris - British Birds)
- Printing Process:
Woodcut & Wood Engraving
- Support Surface:
- Overall Size (w x h, cms): 25 x 16 cms
- Image Size (w x h, cms): 18 x 12 cms
- Price: £22.00
This price includes DELIVERY, and VAT if applicable.
- Print Category:
Animals - Birds
- Colour: Colour
- Colour Application: Original Hand Colour
- Condition of Artwork: Very good - may be some minor age toning or some light foxing.
- Printer: Benjamin Fawcett in his workshop on Middle Street, Driffield, Yorkshire.
- Publisher: Published by Groombridge and Sons, London. c.1851.
- Publication Magazine: A History Of British Birds (c.1851 - C.1903)
- Edition Series Volume: An early edition with buff background.
- Notes: An antique wood block engraving by Alexander Francis Lyndon in c. 1851. This artwork, entitled "Wilson's Petrel", was produced for "A History of British Birds", written by Rev. Francis Orpen Morris. The publication was conceived, arranged and printed by Benjamin Fawcett in his workshop on Middle Street, Driffield, Yorkshire. Various editions were published from circa 1851 to circa 1903; all published with hand-colouring. This print is an original from one of the first editions - this can be told from the 'buff' background, which was not present on later editions. This is an original antique print from an early edition of the famous and profoundly important publication "A History of British Birds". This artwork is around 160 years old and bears very fine original hand colour from the time of publication.
- Further Information: Francis Orpen Morris had built a solid reputation as a writer on natural history, and most especially on birds, by about 1835 with the publication of his book "Guide to an Arrangement of British Birds". But what would become his most famously attributed work, "A History of British Birds", came some years later and was in fact the brainchild of the celebrated English printer, Benjamin Fawcett. By November 1844, Morris had moved to Nafferton in East Yorkshire where he was pursuing his career in the church and soon became Vicar of the town. His life and career within the church gave him plenty of free time to pursue his interests in natural history, entomology and in particular ornithology and Morris had been doing just that, producing hugely popular papers on natural history and birds. His increasing fame prompted Benjamin Fawcett to approach the erudite Vicar and ask him to write the text for Fawcett's envisaged book, "A History of British Birds". This was to start a relationship that would last almost 50 years and have such a profound effect on the development of British ornithology.
Fawcett's most skilled and experienced engraver, Alexander Francis Lyndon did much of the design and all of the woodblock engraving for the publication. "A History of British Birds" was to consist of twenty-four letterpress pages of ornithological text and four hand-coloured, engraved plates. Lyndon's engravings were coloured team of exclusively female watercolourists, who were under very strict orders and had to pass the intense scrutiny of both Benjamin Fawcett and his wife who was an accomplished former watercolourist herself. The book was printed and bound in Benjamin Fawcett's workshop and home in Driffield, a small Yorkshire village near Morris' church in Nafferton. Fawcett and his assembled team started working on the book in around 1847 or 1848. Its publication though, which began in June 1850, was done in monthly instalments costing one shilling and took over 7 years to complete. One thousand copies of the first part were produced, and shipped out of Fawcett's shop and down to London in tea chests, but the popularity of the publications first issue was so overwhelming that Fawcett very quickly found himself needing much larger premises to meet the ever increasing demand. The book was an astounding success and various editions were printed from around 1851 to circa 1903, all with beautifully engraved plates published with original fine hand colouring.
Other books written by Reverend Francis Orpen Morris include "A Natural History of the Nests and Eggs of British Birds", "A History of British Butterflies" and "A History of British Moths" which all followed in rapid succession. The final work which Fawcett, Morris and Lydon would do together was "The County Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland". Morris books were mostly published by Groombridge and Sons, in London. "A History of British Birds" will always remain the most famous and widely renowned published writings by Rev. Morris, in part due to the wonderful woodblock engravings that accompanied his text by Alexander Francis Lyndon and the tireless dedication and original conception of Benjamin Fawcett. This book would become the first accessible colour guide to the nation's avifauna, covering around 350 species of native birds, and an immediate success that would have a profound and lasting effect on the development of British ornithology making birds recognisable and familiar.