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Item #21107 Harlequin Duck from The Birds of America. John James AUDUBON.

AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851)

Harlequin Duck from The Birds of America

[Pl. CCXCVII] London: John James Audubon, 1836. Print. Hand-colored etching with aquatint and line-engraving by Robert Havell, Jr., after a watercolor from nature by Audubon. Paper watermarked "J. Whatman 1836." Sheet: (25 x 38 inches).

The Harlequin Duck from the first edition of Audubon's "The Birds of America."

"I have the pleasure of presenting you with three figures of the Harlequin Duck, one a male in all the perfection of its spring plumage, the bird having attained complete maturity, another male two years old, and an adult female shot in the pairing season. No figures of the adult male or of the female have, I believe, hitherto been published." - Audubon The drawings for "Harlequin Duck" (Histrionicus histrionicus) were done by Audubon and his son, John Woodhouse Audubon, near Eastport, Maine. The two ducks on the right of the image (2. Female, on top, and 3. Young Male, Third Year) were drawn by the younger Audubon and the Old Male on the left was drawn by the elder. The Harlequin Duck is aptly named both because of its multi-colored feathers but also for its surprising and unusual ways, like the clownish and mischievous Harlequin of the Commedia dell' Arte. In fact, the root of its Latin name, "histrio," means "actor." It is the only duck categorized under its genus, and no subspecies are recognized. Its love of the turbulent waters around Maine, Nova Scotia, and Labrador is an example of a characteristic not typical of ducks. They are also found in the northwest and northeast of the United States and occasionally in the Great Lakes, but they also call Greenland, Iceland, and eastern Russia home.

Audubon, The Birds of America, Vols. VII and VIII, p.85. Low, A Guide to Audubon's "Birds of America," passim. Peterson, Audubon's Birds of America, passim.

Item #21107

Price: $7,500.00

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