|Method||Copper engraving with hand colouring|
|Artist||Johann Michael Seligmann after George Edwards|
|Published||G. Edwards ad viv. del. I.M. Seligmann fecit et excud. [Nuremberg c.1770]|
|Dimensions||Image & Plate 253 x 194 mm, Sheet 385 x 242 mm|
A depiction of a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), from Seligmann's German edition of George Edwards' Natural History of Birds, published under the French title Recueil de divers Oiseaux étrangers et peu communs, qui se trouvent dans les ouvrages de MM Edwards et Catesby.
George Edwards was, like Catesby, one of the pioneers of natural history documentation, and is known as the "Father of British Ornithology." His marvellous A Natural History of Birds (London: 1743-51) was produced almost single-handedly. Edwards not only wrote the text for the book but also made the drawings, etched the plates, and hand coloured the prints to be bound in each volume. Seligmann began issuing his ambitious series just a few years after Edwards and Catesby each published their landmark works. The text was translated into German by Georg Leonhard Huth, and Seligmann produced all new plates based on the images of the two Englishmen. In bringing these masterworks to the continental audience, Seligmann has earned himself a rightful place in natural history circles, and his charming prints, reflecting well on their sources, stand on their own as another respected source for 18th-century natural history documentation.
Edwards was born at Stratford, Essex. In his early years he travelled extensively through mainland Europe, studying natural history, and gained some reputation for his coloured drawings of animals, especially birds. In 1733, on the recommendation of Sir Hans Sloane, he was appointed librarian to the Royal College of Physicians in London.