Image Gallery: The Birds of Great Britain by John Gould, 1873

John Gould was a businessman, publisher, and obsessive bird collector with an eye for a talented artist. Gould is best remembered for his folio volumes of superb colour-plate illustrations of birds. In all, 2999 unique images were produced for these publications, many being the first illustrations of previously unknown species. It is estimated that over half a million individual hand-coloured plates were produced under the the Gould name. This extraordinary output was the result of Gould's drive and business acumen as well as an ability to develop a strong team of speciment collectors, artists and administrative agents. It is an irony that a man who never finished a picture is remembered as one of the most significant bird artists of the Victorian age.

John Gould began work on The Birds of Great Britain in 1862. This gallery consists of a selection of images from this work. Joseph Wolf provided Gould with most of the illustrations for The Birds of Great Britain. The greatness of Wolf's animal art was in his ability to capture a moment of 'suspended action' combined with a sound physiological knowledge. He voiced disappointment with some of the Richter and Hart lithographs of his originals, feeling that they were less lifelike, the backgrounds busy and they tended to be overcoloured.