Original copper plate
Alexander Wilson, 1810
WILSON, Alexander (1766-1813) and Alexander LAWSON (1773-1846). [Original copper plate for American Ornithology, 1810⁄1829.]

A rare survival: one of the original copper plates for Wilson's American Ornithology, engraved by Alexander Lawson in Philadelphia about 1810. This is plate 31 (from volume four) and includes the male and female American crossbill, the white-winged crossbill, the white-crowned bunting, and the bay-winged bunting. RBH records only one copper plate from Wilson's work, selling in these rooms in 1998. "Few original copper plates used in 19th century book production survive today. They wore down quickly in use, and the value of the metal caused most to be recycled. Some of the plates for Wilson's work do survive, although probably reworked for the second American edition of 1829, which employed the same plates" (Stamped with a National Character). Stamped with a National Character 4 (this plate? plate no. is not specified).

Copper plate, etched (345 x 270mm). Custom clamshell box, leather label.

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Christina Geiger
Christina Geiger Head of Department

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