Common Gull (Larus canus),
Plate 437 from The Birds of Europe


Common Gull (Larus canus),
Plate 437 from The Birds of Europe


Elizabeth Gould
English, 1804–1841
After John Gould
English, 1804–1881
Printed by Charles Hullmandel
English, 1789–1850




John Gould’s earliest career path followed the one taken by his father, who was a gardener in the Royal Gardens at Windsor Castle. Working so closely with nature encouraged an additional interest in taxidermy, in which he became proficient enough to win several commissions from King George IV. Gould’s mounting skills also brought him to the attention of the newly formed Zoological Society of London, which hired him, at the age of 23, as its museum’s first curator and preserver. A gift to the society of a collection of avian specimens from the Himalayan Mountains afforded Gould his first publication, titled A Century of Birds, which he completed in 1832. That same year he began work on The Birds of Europe.

Gould was not an accomplished artist. Although he provided rough sketches for each of the 448 plates in The Birds of Europe, he relied on his wife, Elizabeth, and the more talented Edward Lear to transform his efforts into finer renditions and then transfer them onto stone. The printing and hand coloring was supervised by Charles Hullmandel, then the leading lithographer in London. The finished plates were issued to subscribers, twenty per part, at regular intervals over five years. The published version, with all the images bound into five volumes, appeared in 1837.

Object inscriptions: bottom center: COMMON GULL. / Larus Canus; (Linn;); bottom left corner: Drawn from Nature & on Stone by J. & E. Gould.; bottom right corner: Printed by C Hullmandel.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Gift of Joyce Gordon and Paul Lubetkin




This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Lithograph with hand coloring; 15 x 21-3/4 in. (38.2 x 55.3 cm)