George Edwards – Golden-crowned Wren, Ruby-crowned Wren – 1757
Delightful bird print by George Edwards from his illustrated three volume book ‘Gleaning of Natural History’ (Part 1, 1758). The descriptions for this illustration, in English and French, are found on pages 95 and 96. This print is in excellent condition, on laid paper with prominent plate marks and some watermarking. It is named, signed and dated in the plate (254) by Edwards himself. The original hand-colouring is still as vibrant and vivid as the day it was printed.
George Edwards, English naturalist, ornithologist and draughtsman, was born at Stratford, Essex on 3 April, 1694. After an apprenticeship in Fenchurch Street (London) in his early years, he travelled extensively through Norway, Denmark, Holland and France. On returning home he began to make coloured drawings of animals, especially birds, which fetched good prices.
In December 1733, Edwards was appointed librarian of the Royal College of Physicians. where he was later elected a fellow, and was honoured with the Gold Medal of the Royal Society. The publication of his illustrated 'History of Birds' began in 1743, and its fourth volume was published in 1751. Edwards etched his own plates, hand-colouring several copies before supervising others in the process. Under the new title of 'Gleanings of Natural History' three additional volumes were issued in 1758, 1760, and 1764 respectively. On St. Andrew’s Day 1760 Edwards was presented with the gold medal of the Royal Society, of which he was afterwards elected a fellow. About 1764 Edwards retired to Plaistow, and died of cancer on 23 July 1773.
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography 1885-1900, Vol. 17; Edwards, George (1758). Gleanings of Natural History, Part 1. London: Printed for author at the Royal College of Physicians.
Artist: George Edwards (1694-1773)
Signed and dated on plate.
Medium: Engraving on copper plate, on laid paper.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 24.5 x 19.3 cm. / 9 ½ x 7 ½ in. (view).
Frame: 38 x 31.5 cm. / 15 x 12.5 in. Contemporary gilt wood frame, matting and glass.
Origin: United Kingdom.