Y’know, I read this, figured “oh, yeah, I have tons of birds, I’m sure I have a bunch of swallows/martins in one of those books”
Boy, was I ever wrong. But after looking through my entire natural history folder, I remembered that I still had John Gould’s plates in a separate folder, and HE certainly had swallows. Gould saves the day! Or something like that. Here’s one for now. I have a few more for later.
Hirundo fluvicola - Indian Cliff Swallow - Birds of Asia, John Gould, 1850.
You call it lazy, I call it a celebration of the inspirational husband/wife team of John and Elizabeth Gould.
Even though Elizabeth died before her husband did his work on mammals and before his works were mentioned by Darwin, she was a major part of John Gould’s observations and research. Over 600 of the lithographs in John Gould’s work were Elizabeth’s art, including the newly-classified (by her husband) finches that Charles Darwin gave to the Goulds for classification input, and later used to both develop his theory of natural selection and illustrate his concepts in On the Origin of Species. Even though John Gould is mentioned as a direct influence by Darwin and Elizabeth was not (subsequently allowing her work to be almost completely eclipsed by her husband’s), his wife’s work was still important, lovely, and generated a lot of public interest in birds both domestic and foreign.
Edward Lear did the mammalian lithographs and a few bird lithographs (the post-1841 works), but all of the pre-1841 birds (the majority of them) were Elizabeth’s work.
So yeah. Birds today. And keep Elizabeth’s hard and skilled work in mind. She did all this in the middle of taking care of 8 children (she had no nanny while in Australia with her 4 oldest children, who were quite young at the time). She was one awesome possum.
John Gould, 1840
Elizabeth Gould with Australian cockatiel, memorial oil painting, produced shortly after her death