Edwards, George

George Edwards (1694 - 1773)

From: A Natural History of Uncommon Birds and of some Other Rare and Undescribed Animals, Quadrupeds, Fishes, Reptiles, Insects, & c.,

London: T. Rickaby for George Edwards., 1743 - 51

Hand-colored copperplate engravings

25 x 19" Framed

The English naturalist and ornithologist George Edwards (1694-1773), is remembered as the “Father of British Ornithology” for his dedication in the study and depiction of birds. Edwards was born in Essex, England and as a young man traveled throughout Northern Europe, collecting samples, studying natural history and making colored drawings of animals and birds. In 1743 he published the first volume of his Natural History of Uncommon Birds. His marvelous publication was
a renowned reference text in mid-18th century British naturalist circles. He continued publishing subsequent volumes until 1764. His works contain engravings and descriptions from more than 600 natural history subjects which had not previously been recorded.

Edwards was a good friend of Mark Catesby, who created the first American ornithology and of Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the British Museum. Edwards produced his impressive volumes almost single-handedly: making the drawings upon which the prints are based, writing the text, etching the plates and hand-coloring the pieces. Edwards was elected a Fellow and honored with the Gold Medal of the Royal Socitey and in 1733 he was appointed as Librarian at the Royal College of
Physicians. Edwards’ bird prints are carefully colored and detailed with a naturalistic quality showing his great dedication to accuracy as well as desire to produce a beautiful image.


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