Prints are from Illustrations
of British Ornithology (1821-1834, 1841) and
are approximately 20.5" x 25.5" in size.
Red Legged Hobby,
Prideaux John Selby (1788-1867)
John Selby was a landowner and squire
with ample leisure to observe the animals,
birds, insects and fish on his property and in
the surrounding Northumbrian country-side. He was
a keen sportsman equally good with rod and gun,” to
quote Christine Jackson.
A friend, contemporary
and encourager of John James Audubon, Selby
subscribed to Audubon’s work and once took a drawing lesson
from Audubon even though as Jackson states “Selby was very gifted
as an artist, and the two volumes of Illustrations of
Ornithology 1821-34 are outstandingly beautiful. The cool, classical quality of
Selby’s plates belongs to the age of elegance.” Selby’s
Illustrations…. was the most lavish work, with the largest plates
ever done on British birds. Selby, like his predecessor
Eleazar Albin, etched his own plates, his name
being found on most of his prints.
Selby was not
only an outstanding ornithologist, but also an entomologist, and
had a good knowledge of fishes and plants.
He illustrated his own book, A History of British
Forest Trees 1841-42 and collaborated with
naturalist, Sir William Jardine, in publishing
Illustrations of British Ornithology.1826-43
and authored two volumes of Jardine’s expansive Naturalist
Selby lived in the tradition of the 18th century all around naturalist.
He enjoyed the life of a country gentleman and held the offices of
Magistrate, Deputy lieutenant and High sheriff of Northumberland.
He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the
Linnean Society of London. His 643 acre estate Twizell House near
Belford, Northumberland was not far from the North Sea coast and became
a stopping off place for naturalists heading to and from Edinburgh.
Audubon always looked forward to visiting this complete, learned and
gracious Christian gentleman and his hospitable wife and children.