Printing Audubon’s The Birds of America

February 16, 2024

Please join us at an event sponsored by the Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries:

Printing Audubon’s The Birds of America

Presentation by Emily Arthur, Associate Professor, UW-Madison Art Department

Monday, February 19, presentation at 4:30 PM, reception to follow
Department of Special Collections – 984 Memorial Library

Although scholars in various fields have explored Audubon’s biography, work, and place in American history, Robert Havell, Jr.’s role in transforming Audubon’s watercolors into the famous double-elephant prints has received much less attention. Prof. Arthur’s presentation will explore the craft practices and visual vocabulary of engravers like Havell, whose secret engraving techniques helped translate a three-dimensional world into The Birds of America.  

Some of Prof. Arthur’s work on this subject was featured in the exhibition “Seeing Audubon: Robert Havell, Jr. and The Birds of America” at the Chazen Museum of Art in 2021-2022. She pursued the topic further as Eleanor M. Garvey Visiting Fellow in Printing & Graphic Arts at the Houghton Library, Harvard University, in 2023.