Daniel Giraud Elliot
(1835 – 1915)
Pheasants, Cats and Birds of Paradise
Born in New York in 1835, as a young man Daniel Giraud Elliot traveled extensively in Europe and Asia to pursue his interests in ornithology and collect specimens. His collection was considered to be the finest private collection of the period and was acquired by the Museum of Natural History in 1869. An important figure in the nineteenth century scientific community, he was a talented artist who published lavish folios on birds and mammals. He was a founder of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and cofounder of the American Ornithologist¹s Union. In addition, he became Curator of Zoology at Chicago¹s Field Museum in 1894.
His interest in natural history enabled the production of an extensive series of color-plate books on birds and mammals, long after most publishers had already switched to smaller sizes and cheaper coloring techniques. Independently wealthy, he spared no expense in the creation of his large-folio works and employed the most acclaimed artists of the day to illustrate these richly-colored images.
Elliot’s folios were created for a small, select list of subscribers. Among the rarest and finest works of the late nineteenth century are his Family of Pheasants, 1870-1872, Birds of Paradise, 1873 and Family of Cats, first issued 1878-1883. These extraordinary works achieved a new level of mastery of printing techniques, rendering of the species, capturing the beauty of these exotic creatures.
Comprised of fifty of his most compelling images, the Oppenheimer Field Museum Edition of Elliot’s Fifty Best accurately conveys the vivid colors and pristine quality present in the originals in the Field Museum’s collection from which they were made. Each print is on Somerset acid-free, cotton rag watercolor paper imported from England.
Strictly limited to 500 numbered sets.
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