Col. Albert’s Squirrel, California Grey Squirrel, Plate CLIII (53)

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John James Audubon's "The Viviparous Quadrupeds" of North America is the outstanding work on American animals produced in the nineteenth century, and the octavo edition of this work is a testament to its popularity. This magnificent, hand-colored lithograph, "Col. Albert's Squirrel, California Grey Squirrel, Plate CLIII" measures 7" x 10.25" and is in excellent condition. This lithograph shows two squirrels, expertly hand colored with grey bodies and white undersides, and the Col. Albert's Squirrel (Fig. 1) with a red-brown collar and back. Precise lines define and detail the two squirrels, showing their subtle differences, including coloring, tail length and ears. They are positioned on a rocky and grassy knoll above an open grassland. Audubon started the folio edition of this, his second great undertaking, in the 1830s, as Robert Havell was finishing the last plates for the Birds of America (1838). The Quadrupeds, as Audubon envisioned the book, would complete his record of the animal life of North America. He and his sons, Victor and John Wodehouse, started their travels in the Eastern woodlands, then went through Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. Victor and John Wodehouse contributed a great deal to the Birds of America, and their father's failing health meant that their help was even more crucial on the Quadrupeds. John Wodehouse, using a style modeled on his father's, was primarily responsible for the plates produced after 1846. Another important contributor to the Quadrupeds project was John Bachman, a Lutheran minister who had been the artist's closest friend and supporter for many years. He wrote all of the scientific descriptions and acted as a scientific editor for the work. The whole is a magnificent record of the wildlife of North America, although the Quadrupeds have never received the widespread public acclaim which greeted Audubon's Birds. Recently, however, both collectors and scholars have re-evaluated "Audubon's other book" as an unequaled record o