Plate 96 from The Viviparpus Quadrapeds of North America, 1845-48
American, 19th century?
After John Woodhouse
Printed by John T. Bowen
American, b. England, c. 1801–1856
Published by John James Audubon
American, b. Haiti, 1785–1851
Upon his return from Europe in 1839, and around the time production began on the octavo edition of Birds of America, John James Audubon initiated his Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. Less familiar with this group of vertebrates, he collaborated with the Reverend John Bachman (1790–1874), a recognized authority on mammalogy, whose related scientific text was published under another cover. Audubon, at least in the early stages, provided the original drawings, all made to fit comfortably on an imperial folio sheet, about 28 x 22 inches. The lithography was once again entrusted to John T. Bowen, whose stable of commercial artists started work on the stones as soon as they finished the last part of the octavo Birds. Issued to subscribers in numbers of five plates each starting in 1845, the project extended to a total of 150 plates by the time of its completion three years later.
Half way into the undertaking, Audubon’s eyesight had failed to the point where he could not see well enough to draw, so the remaining illustrations were assigned to his sons, Victor and John Woodhouse, both trained by their father as artists and naturalist. (The title of John Woodhouse Audubon’s image here, incidentally, is no longer considered accurate. Though originally classified by Linnaeus as Felis concolor, since 1993 the mountain lion has been recognized as belonging not to the genus Felis, but to the genus Puma. Its correct classification today would thus be Puma concolor.)
Object inscriptions: BMC: Felis Concolor, Linn The Cougar. Male