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Audubon's Birds of America

This touring exhibition presents an exciting opportunity to display a beautiful selection of 46 plates from one of the world’s most famous and valuable rare books, 'Birds of America' by John James Audubon (1785–1851).

Available to hire from 2023

Birds of America is a landmark work of ornithological illustration. It achieved international renown due to the epic scale of the project and the book’s spectacular, life-sized bird illustrations. The book was the culmination of Audubon’s ambition to paint every bird species in North America, which took almost 12 years to complete. It is celebrated for its extraordinarily animated, dramatic and detailed illustrations.

Today only 120 complete copies of Birds of America are known to exist and they are rarely on display. The beautiful framed plates featured in this exhibition, each measuring almost one metre (39 inches) in height, are drawn from the National Museums Scotland Library collection. The majority have never been shown in public and have undergone years of conservation treatment in preparation for their inaugural display and tour.

This exhibition is a new interpretation of the creation and significance of this incredible body of work and the fascinating story is complemented by letters, books, manuscripts, photography, projections and films. It explores the book’s historical context and considers why Audubon’s artistic style was so ground-breaking. Lastly, it questions how this book came to influence natural sciences today and what we can learn from its legacy.

"An ornithologist's dream..."

The Spectator

"...poetic and contemplative..."

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Scotsman

  • Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

    Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

  • Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

    Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

  • Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

    Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

  • Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

    Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

  • Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

    Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

  • Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

    Audubon's Birds of America, March 2022. National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. © Andy Catlin

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Audubon's Birds Of America Tour Pack
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