American, 1801–c. 1856
After John Woodhouse Audubon
Printed by John T. Bowen
Published by John James Audubon, American, 1785–1851
Plate 96 from The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
Not long after publishing the final volume of his monumental The Birds of America in 1838, John James Audubon began the production of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America in collaboration with the Reverend John Bachman (1790–1874), a recognized authority on mammalogy who wrote the accompanying scientific texts. Audubon, at least in the early stages, provided the original drawings. The lithography was entrusted to John T. Bowen, who bore the additional responsible for ensuring the proper coloring of the sheets by artists working in his shop. 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.) Adapted from the entry written by Judith Hansen O’Toole for the 1980 Pennsylvania Prints exhibition catalogue.