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Details & Cataloguing

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Albin, Eleazar and Elizabeth, by and attributed to
A COLLECTION OF TWENTY-SEVEN ORNITHOLOGICAL WATERCOLOURS. [EARLY EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY] 
27 WATERCOLOURS of birds (from 205 x 182mm. to 285 x 227mm.), some captioned in ink or with descriptions of the birds on verso, 3 signed by Elizabeth Albin, a few tears or repairs to verso, some cropped affecting captions, one dampstained
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Provenance

Elizabeth Heron, signature in ink on verso of 3 watercolours

Catalogue Note

A charming collection of watercolours mostly found in Eleazar Albin's A Natural History of Birds (1731–38, see following lot), produced with his daughter Elizabeth as assisting artist. Most of the watercolours appear to have been made for the publication, being very similar or with very slight differences. The remaining watercolours, we have been unable to trace in Albin's extensive work. Three are signed by Elizabeth, while the others are unsigned.

In Albin's notes to the reader he states "As for the paintings, they are all done from the life, with all the Exactness I could either with my own hand, or my daughters, whom I have taught to draw and paint after the life". Elizabeth was the first English woman recorded as a painter and delineator of birds.

Christine Jackson noted the location of known Albin watercolours in her work Dictionary of Bird Artists of the World: "two volumes of original drawings are preserved in Archbishop Marsh's Library in Dublin with 198 watercolours. The drawings from the Bradley Martin collection in the US were sold in 1989. A single volume of drawings was in the Chatsworth, Derbyshire collection" (Christine Jackson, Dictionary of Bird Artists of the World, p. 132).

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