Audubon Prints – Double Elephant Portfolio
The original portfolio (Havell edition) of John James Audubon’s Birds of America was printed between 1827 and 1838 and contains 435 life-size prints of North American birds. The portfolio was reproduced from hand-engraved plates with watercolor added later by hand. Audubon sold subscriptions to his prints in editions of five. This included three small, one medium, and one large with each group. Collectors often bound these portfolios into books. All the prints, large and small, were printed on Double Elephant sized paper (approximately 28″ x 39″), which was the largest sheet available at the time.
The double elephant portfolio of the “Birds of America” was the largest, full-sized print that Audubon printed. The paper measured approximately 28″ x 39″. Audubon drew his subjects to life size and even with this large paper he had to contort some of the birds to fit the page.
Click on any image to see it larger.