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Toucans: The Complete Plates

Toucans: The Complete Plates

Jonathan Elphick

This collection contains 51 large (33 x 49 cm) loose leaf reproductions of John Gould's illustrations. Included is a 31-page booklet of the same size containing an essay in English, German, and French by Jonathan Elphick on both Gould's books, and the biology of toucans. The whole comes in a sturdy cloth-bound box.

John Gould (1804-1881) was without question the most prolific ornithological artist of the 19th century, and the only one to rival John James Audubon in ambition and quality. Gould shared the romantic enthusiasm of his time for bird specimens as well as the popular impulse to catalogue. He combined his passion for natural history with outstanding scientific, artistic and entrepreneurial talents. Drawing on these abilities, he embarked on a series of projects that would eventually make him the leading publisher of ornithological illustrations in Victorian Britain. Gould's unparalleled career spanned five decades, during which he produced a series of books depicting birds from all over the world.

The dazzling illustrations from Gould's "Monograph of the Ramphastidae", or "Family of Toucans", are generally thought to represent his most dramatic, magnificent images. The amazing range of vivid colours--shiny black, vibrant red, yellow, and orange--creates an unprecedented sense of animation. Shown against simple backgrounds, the birds seem to emerge, large and engaging, from the page; Gould's toucans appear as living creatures, not two-dimensional representations. The inspiration for "Toucans" came while Gould was working on his "Birds of Europe", when he became fascinated by the toucan collection of a fellow ornithologist. He made several trips to central European museums to gather material for "Toucans", and after publication of the first edition, redrew some of the plates and added 20 new birds to this revised and expanded second edition. All are included here. 82 pages.

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