Why Are Audubon’s Birds Of America More Than Just Prints?

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Because the copy of Audubon’s book “Birds of America” was sold for incredible £7,3 million at Sotheby’s. And because it’s not only about its value over time… the real value goes far beyond. This illustration masterpiece is famous for real-sized engravings of North America’s birds created between 1827 and 1838 by John James Audubon. It represents the archetype of wildlife illustration, but also reflects the nature of bird art onto our personalities.

As Lorrie Moore described in her book also entitled “Birds of America”, those feathered creatures are nothing but ourselves. This means that our attitudes, emotions and current psychological states can be easily identified with the life of these birds. Nevertheless, Audubon created his drawings so carefully, paying attention to every detail. He also used wires and other objects to pose a dead bird just to make an original expression of it, making them even closer to humans.

This lover and observer of birds and nature has brought the sense of familiarity and coziness that seems to be common among people who are in love with his work. Altogether, the 435 hand-coloured plates of different North American birds represent the stunning beauty, which remained timeless. That’s why this type of bird artwork applies to every home – vintage or modern. Audubon’s vivid colours bring additional value to space; white walls get an entirely new dimension, having in mind that majority of his work are real-size illustrations.

Since digital has over-possessed the analogue, John James Audubon’s illustrations “Birds of America” can be found and downloaded from digital libraries. However, we agree that admiring the beauty of this bird artwork is not possible through digital format. Heritage Prints, therefore, creates digital prints that not only reassemble the originals, but are the same in quality and size (99 x 66 cm) as original illustrations. In this way, we breathe the life into birds of America again, making them affordable for bird art lovers.

A great example of how a digital print fits into every interior is Audubon’s American Flamingo. This bird art does not only show a species as unique and individual, but has a deeper and symbolic meaning. Because the American flamingo can stand up to five feet high, Audubon was obliged to depict that bird bending down, about to dip its beak into the water. The flamingo’s silhouette emphasizes the elegant curve of its body, even as the abrupt curve of its neck gives the shocking, momentary impression of a headless bird.

The symbolic interpretation illustrated through American Flamingo can be equaled with contemporary men: all brilliant in size, clever and elegant, but thorn with everyday routine and with impossibility to express himself in the right manner. This flamingo is gorgeous but thin (body), sensitive but intense (colour), free but bounded (size). But, having such a piece in a living space enables a contemporary individual to find a soulmate and, on the other hand, bring necessary energy to his usual routine.