Long-legged Avocet. From “The Birds of America” (Amsterdam Edition) Pl. 328
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In October 1971, employing the most faithful printing method available, the best materials and the ablest craftsmen of their age, the Amsterdam firm of Theatrum Orbis Terrarum Ltd., in conjunction with the Johnson Reprint Corporation of New York, set out to produce the finest possible limited edition facsimile of the greatest bird book ever printed: the Havell edition of John James Audubon's well-loved "Birds of America". The Curators of the Teyler's Museum in Haarlem, Holland made their copy of the original work available for use as a model. The Museum, founded in 1778, bought their copy through Audubon's son as part of the original subscription in 1839. After long deliberation, the extremely complex but highly accurate process of colour photo-lithography was chosen as the appropriate printing method. The best exponents of this art were the renowned Dutch printing firm of NV Fotolitho Inrichting Drommel at Zandvoort who were willing to undertake the task of printing each plate in up to eight different colours. The original Havell edition was published on hand-made rag paper and the publishers were determined that the paper of their edition should match the original. Unhappy with the commercially available papers, they turned to the traditional paper manufacturers G. Schut & Zonen (founded in 1625), who, using 100% unbleached cotton rags, were able to produce a wove paper of the highest quality, with each sheet bearing a watermark unique to the edition: G. Schut & Zonen [JR monogram] Audubon [OT monogram]. The publishers and their dedicated team completed their task late in 1972 and the results of these labours were affectionately known as the "Amsterdam Audubon."