CHRISTIE’S

American Fine Art Magazine - - Auction Report: Boston, East Dennis, New York, Ply -

JUNE 14

Books and Manuscripts $12.85 mil­lion

John James Audubon’s The Birds of Amer­ica had an orig­i­nal print run of 175 to 200 edi­tions, with 120 hav­ing sur­vived. Of that, 107 are in the col­lec­tions of in­sti­tu­tions and 13 are in pri­vate hands. One of those 13 edi­tions, owned by the fourth Duke of Port­land, ar­rived at auc­tion

dur­ing Christie’s Books and Manuscripts sale on June 14. The full set is made up of four vol­umes of dou­bleele­phant fo­lios with 435 hand­col­ored cop­per­plate etch­ings and five bound text vol­umes, known as the Or­nitho­log­i­cal Bi­og­ra­phy.the works are el­e­gantly bound and gilded by royal English book­binder John Macken­zie. Based on the bind­ing and other mark­ings, it is es­ti­mated that the book set was pur­chased by the fourth Duke of Port­land,wil­liam Henry Cavendish-scot­tbentinck (1768-1854), who was pas­sion­ate about nat­u­ral his­tory. The edi­tion sold for $9,650,000, within its pre­sale es­ti­mate of $8 mil­lion to

$12 mil­lion, to be­come the sec­ond-high­est price at auc­tion for a full fo­lio-set.

John James Audubon (1785-1851), Blue Jay en­grav­ing from The Birds of Amer­ica; from Orig­i­nal Draw­ings. Lon­don: Pub­lished by the au­thor, 1827-1838. The Duke of Port­land set. Cour­tesy Christie’s. Es­ti­mate: $8/12 mil­lion SOLD: $9,650,000

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