What books did John Gould publish?

John Gould's publications

Gould’s lifetime work complised more than 40 volumes, with more than 3,000 colored plates. His many scientific papers, mostly devoted to descriptions of new species, estebalished his professional reputation, but he is best known today for his folio’s. And he published many. 

In 1827, Gould’s expertise gained him a role at the Zoological Society of London as the museum’s first curator and preserver. This position gave Gould access to several of Europe’s leading naturalists and he was often among the first to see the exotic new collections of birds given to the society.

Gould's method

The method Gould used to create his illustrations was lithography. This method was a lot simpler to learn than the ‘intaglio’ processes (engraving, etching, aquatint, and drypoint) which was used by Audubon. Besides, it was much cheap. 

Using special colored pencils, an illustration could be drawn directly onto a highly polished limestone block. It was almost as easy as drawing on paper. 

After seeing Edward Lear’s successful illustrations, Gould requested him to learn Gould’s wife Elizabeth the technique.

A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains (1830-1833)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 80 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

After receiving a large number of exotic bird skins from the Himalayan Mountains, Gould was inspired to create his first collection: A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains. Lavishly printed with detailed illustrations, the work set the tone for Gould’s future collections. 

For this collection, Gould created sketches and his wife Elizabeth drew the final illustrations. As a publisher could not be found, Gould published the work privately. Printed in 20 monthly parts, it was an instant success allowing Gould to go on to produce his other famous works.

The Birds of Australia and the Adjacent Islands (1837-1838)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 20 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

The Birds of Australia (1840-1848)

Consisting: 7 Volumes, 600 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

Published in seven volumes, The Birds of Australia is regarded as one of Gould’s greatest works. Depicting 681 species it was considered the first complete survey of the birds of Australia with 328 new species introduced by Gould. 

John and Elizabeth travelled to Australia in 1838 and spent almost two years collecting species for the work. Elizabeth created the illustrations for 84 plates but died in 1841 before the project was completed. The majority (595) of the remaining plates were produced by the English zoological illustrator HC Richter who completed the illustrations based on Elizabeth’s early sketches. A further plate was completed by Edward Lear and one by the English natural history artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. 

250 sets were printed and complete sets of the original volume were recently sold at auction for over A$350,000.

The Supplement was made and published from 1851-1869. 

A Monograph of the Macropodidae, or Family of Kangaroos (1841-1842)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 30 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

While the majority of Gould’s work focuses on bird species, this collection offers something completely different with 30 fine hand-colored plates depicting kangaroos. With amazing detail, Gould’s work introduced this fascinating creature to an amazed European audience for the first time.

Explaining why he was drawn to create the collection during his trip to Australia, Gould said: “It was not until I arrived in the country, and found myself surrounded by objects as strange as if I had been transported to another planet, that I conceived the idea of devoting a portion of my attention to the mammalian class of its extraordinary fauna.”

A Monograph of the Trochildae, or Family of Hummingbirds (1849-1861)

Consisting: 5 Volumes, 360 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

While Gould was clearly fascinated by all birds, the hummingbird was perhaps his favourite. During his lifetime he identified over 400 species of hummingbird and exhibited his personal collection at the General Exhibition of 1851. Gould wrote: “These wonderful works of creation… my thoughts are often directed to them in the day, and my night dreams have not infrequently carried me to their native forests in the distant country of America.”

Most images show at least one subject in flight to accentuate the coloring of their feathers. The compositions generally show the birds in animated groupings of two or three, surrounded by foliage and landscapes. All of the hummingbirds are drawn to scale and are anatomically correct to the smallest detail. Gould’s Family of Hummingbirds represents a splendid triumph of aesthetic sensitivity and scientific rigor. 

The supplement was made and published from1880-1887. 

The Birds of Asia (1849-1883)

Consisting: 7 Volumes, 530 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

One of Gould’s greatest achievements, the Birds of Asia was in production longer than any of his other work, taking thirty-four years for the appearance of all its parts.

The ornithologist was fascinated by the diversity of the exotic, colorful species of Asia, and he conveyed his enchantment to viewers, creating one of his most monumental and magnificent sets. For the preparation of The Birds of Asia, Gould’s team of artists was joined by the German-born Josef Wolf, who would become a long-term collaborator.

Gould placed many of the overwhelmingly vibrant, showy and elegant birds in settings appropriately lush and detailed. Perhaps more than in any of his other productions, he was careful to create an environment that was extensively delineated and highly accurate.

Supplement to The Birds of Australia (1851-1869)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 81 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans (2nd edition) (1852-1854)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 53 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

A Monograph of Ramphastidae or Family of Toucans is the most flamboyant of Gould’s works. Originally issued in three parts, Gould’s Family of Toucans depicts toucans in Mexico, Central and South America and some West Indian islands. Gould was inspired to create this work after seeing the toucan collection of a fellow ornithologist.

Several of the illustrations were created by Edward Lear and his plates showing both young and fully-grown birds are often regarded as among the best of his ornithological works. With vivid colors, the toucans are presented against simple backgrounds, highlighting the beauty and vibrancy of the birds.

The supplement was made and published in1855. 

Supplement to the first edition of 'A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans' (1855)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 20 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

The Birds of Great Britain (1862-1873)

Consisting: 5 Volumes, 367 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

In The Birds of Great Britain, Gould depicted detailed scenes including nests, chicks and eggs; scenes that were often ignored by other bird artists of the time who only focussed on adult birds. Gould wrote: “I also felt that there was an opportunity of greatly enriching the work by giving figures of the young of many of the species of various genera.”

In the introduction to the collection, Gould writes: “Every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were colored by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought.”

Gould published the collection himself, producing 750 copies, in 25 parts. As the complete work included 367 illustrations, all hand colored, this was a huge undertaking.

The Birds of New Guinea, and the Adjacent Papuan Islands (1875-1888)

Consisting: 5 Volumes, 320 giclee prints afther the hand-colored originals.

Gould conceived of this sweeping, lavish book as a complement to his unprecedented Birds of Asia. The Birds of New Guinea was Gould’s last full-scale work, left incomplete on his death in 1881. Gould completed twelve of the twenty-five parts, and the task of finishing the project fell to Richard Bowdler Sharpe, a superbly qualified successor, who had been Gould’s colleague, assistant and friend. 

These five magnificent volumes of the Birds of New Guinea contain an extensive series of beautiful images of birds of paradise, bower birds, parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, kingfishers and hawk-owls. All of the 325 images are extraordinary for their color and artistry, interesting backdrops and animated compositions. 

Supplement to the 'Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds' (1880-1887)

Consisting: 1 Volume, 58 giclee prints after the hand-colored originals.

Master Copy

Heritage Prints has a master copy of many images. But we do not have every certified facsimile giclee print in stock. 

If you cannot find a specific work on our website, please contact us directly and we will start the rigorous process of printing your individual facsimile.