A Group of Eight Mid-19thC Hand-Coloured Engravings of British Birds c.1857

Origin: English
Period: Early Victorian
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1857
Height: 10.75”
Width: 7.25” (each)

The octet of early Victorian period engravings, with the finely executed hand colouring to each, being original illustrations published in 1857 in Henry Leonard Meyer's 'Illustrations of British Birds and Their Eggs', hailing from the middle of the nineteenth century and showing a wonderful and vibrant array of birds, each now framed for display.

The exquisitely coloured plates are in generally good overall order. There is some light discoloration marks and minor margin toning, but the specimen examples all remain incredibly vibrant. The frames and ivory card mounts are recent and in keeping.

The birds depicted are as follows:

Canada Owl, plate 28
Egyptian Vulture, plate 1
Golden Eagle, plate 2
Goshawk, plate 5
Sparrow Hawk, plate 6
Merlin, plate 12
Osprey, plate 4
Kestrel, plate 11

Henry Leonard Meyer specialised in ornithological subjects and was assisted by his children with the hand colouring of the engravings in these volumes. The three girls, Mary Henrietta, Constance, and Margaret, were competent artists, exhibiting flower paintings in London exhibitions 1866-1929. Of the three sons, only Charles John Adrian helped with 'The drawings of the eggs...who also invented a process of stencilling the colouring of the figures of both the folio and octavo which were all issued in monthly parts'.

With the delicate features of each bird being painstakingly rendered with pristine accuracy, this group proves a very pretty flock.