A Monograph of the Ramphastidae or Family of Toucans, 1834

John Gould

John 'The Bird Man' Gould, (1804-1881) is perhaps the most prolific and talented illustrator of birdlife to have yet lived. As the son of a gardener he received no structured schooling, instead working in the Royal Gardens of Windsor with his father, and falling in love with nature there. Wanting to preserve and study it, he amassed a wealth of knowledge about taxidermy and was made Curator to the Museum of the Zoological Society London in 1827.

In this role, in 1837, he worked with Charles Darwin to identify birds that the latter had encountered on his travels. With his wife Elizabeth, Gould documented, exquisitely, the birds he studied. The pair chose the innovative method of lithography for this work. Our collection includes some of Gould's most colourful and characterful birds.

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