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Birds of America

Sat 1 July 2023Sun 1 October 2023

Birds of America

Birds of America examines the artistry and legacy of one of the world’s rarest, most coveted and – at almost 1-metre in height – largest books. We are delighted to be the first museum to host this exhibition as it begins its tour from National Museums Scotland.

Published as a series between 1827 and 1838, Birds of America was a landmark work, which achieved international renown due to the epic scale of the project and the book’s spectacular, large-scale ornithological illustrations. The culmination of Audubon’s ambition to paint every bird species in North America, it took almost 12 years to complete, and is justly still celebrated for its extraordinarily animated, dramatic and detailed illustrations.

The display also explores how the book came to influence natural sciences, what we can learn from its controversial legacy, and critically examines the impact of human beings on the natural world examining what the future holds for our bird population against the backdrop of our park, which is an established haven for birdlife.

Birds of America is a touring exhibition from National Museums Scotland and showcases 46 prints from the book. Rarely displayed unbound, our show represents a unique opportunity to see so much of Audubon’s work in one place. The story is complemented by letters, books, manuscripts, films and audio, which explore the book’s historical context and consider why Audubon’s artistic style was so ground-breaking.

Image: © National Museums Scotland