New York Times: "Audubon's Species: Bird Art, in All Its Glory"
In 1812, John James Audubon filled a wooden box with about 200 of his paintings of American birds and left it with a relative for safekeeping while he went off on one of his many trips. When he returned to retrieve the paintings, he discovered to his horror that they had been destroyed, shredded by nesting rats.
As he described it later, his first reaction was “a burning heat” in his brain, a headache so intense it kept him awake for days.
Then, though, he reconsidered. “I felt pleased,” he wrote, “that I might now make better drawings than before.”
We know the results — Audubon turned himself into the most famous practitioner of what some call “bird art.” Copies of his “Birds of America,” published section by section in the mid-19th century, are among the most valuable illustrated books.
Check out the online article, if only for the photo of an X-ray showing a Kiwi carrying an egg. Viewers also can watch a slide show of beautiful and interesting images, like the one above.