An eBook version of Audubon’s nineteenth-century masterpiece, created by photographing a rare, original copy using the latest digital technology.
To create this eBook edition of Audubon’s classic work, the Natural History Museum’s own original printed edition was separated and each of the 435 beautiful hand-coloured prints digitally photographed.
The artworks are accompanied by the scientific descriptions that were used in the original The Birds of America and there is also a new introduction by world-renowned bird artist and author, David Allen Sibley.
The eBook is available for download in the UK and Europe from Apple iBookstore. Introductory prices are £9.99 for the complete edition, featuring all 435 plates, and £3.99 for the Highlights edition (85 plates). It forms part of the eBook Treasures collection, created in partnership with The British Library and other Museums across the UK.
The painstaking process of disbinding and photographing one of the Museum’s two original editions, each one metre tall, took over three months.
Take a look at some of the amazing artworks in this eBook.
Puffin – a page from Birds of America.
Common American Swan
The Birds of America by John James Audubon is one of the best known and most valuable natural history books ever published – a complete edition, with all 435 plates, sold at auction in December 2010 for £7.3 million, which is a world record for a book.
Apart from being of the highest artistic quality, Audubon’s illustrations were exceptional in that they portrayed the birds life-size in natural positions and in their native habitats. It is thought that less than 200 complete sets were produced and only 119 of these are known to exist today.
John James Audubon was a naturalist and painter and is considered one of the greatest bird artists of all time. Born in Haiti in 1785, he spent much of his life travelling North America observing, catching and drawing birds and animals in remarkable detail.
Using a variety of materials to create a highly dramatic style, he painted almost 500 species of the 700 or so regularly occurring North American bird species. He also painted other animals but it is his life-size illustrations of birds that he is most famous for.
David Allen Sibley is a world-renowned bird artist, ornithologist and author. He is the author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, considered by many to be the most comprehensive guide for the identification of birds in North America.