John J. Gould
Born in 1804, John Gould was the most prolific and ambitious ornithological expert of the nineteen century. A gardener’s son, he was raised on the royal estate at Windsor. As a gardener at Ripley Castle, Gould learned the art of taxidermy and in 1827 he was appointed Taxidermist of the new Zoological Society of London.
Gould went on to publish some 3,200 lithographs in 40 folio volumes, aided by his wife Elizabeth who was also a gifted artist and a skilled lithographer. Gould hired many of the finest illustrators of his day to illustrate specimens from around the globe for his comprehensive works. The drawings were then printed and hand- colored by print shops such as Hullmandel, Walter and Mintern.
“The Birds of Europe” was Gould’s first work to feature plates by Edward Lear, who also illustrated most of the larger birds in the book.