Art in the Mansion

Hand Painted Audubon engravings

We have several original hand painted engravings by John James Audubon 1785-1851 (pictured here are two of his pieces in our collection – Common Thistle and American Gold Finch). He was an American ornithologist, naturalist and painter. These pieces plus two others in our collection, collectively are valued at more than $20,000. Audubon is the author of the book Birds of North America. Side note: He once gave a demonstration to Charles Darwin! He was collected in Europe by the nobility during the “romantic era”, which was an artistic and intellectual movement characterized by an interest in nature and rebellion against social rules. Our collection was purchased at auction through Sotheby’s and was previously owned by the city of New York.

Why is this significant?

Photography was not invented until 1826. The only way people could record accurately what nature looked like was to paint or draw what they saw. The artist was the journalist of history.