With 1,065 birds representing 489 species, Birds of America contains 435 hand-colored engravings based on Audubon paintings. Committed to rendering each bird at full size, Audubon required the largest paper available that was handmade and that measured 39.5 inches high by 26.5 inches wide. The oversized volume of Good (often called a double elephant-shaped folio) was a collaboration between John James Audubon's son, John Woodhouse Audubon, Good, the printer, and Roe's publisher, Lockwood %26 Co. The project began in 1858 and the original plan was to reproduce the 400 birds from the 1838 engraved edition in chromolithographs.
The Audubon family still owned the copper plates used in the original edition and Bien transferred these designs to lithographic stones. In chromolithography, each color is added with a separate stone, one for black, one for red, another for brown, etc. Well, he had been using the process to print maps and prints since about 1853, and he was an expert lithographer. Many images from the Audubon project needed six or more colors to complete.
The work consumed a lot of time and resources, since several large lithographic stones were needed for each color and several trips to the presses for each illustration. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, across the Americas through science, promotion, education and conservation on the ground.
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