The 19th Century saw a rapid evolution in the publication of natural history books. Magnificent large-scale tomes, sumptuously bound and illustrated with hand-coloured plates, celebrated all the latest discoveries of exotic birds and animals around the world. The ornithological genius that was John James Audubon (1785-1851) had as his magnificent contribution to the world, an “elephant folio” of such engravings entitled; The birds of America: from drawings made in the United States and their Territories, 1840-1844.
It was however, Audubon’s user-friendly far more accessible library folios, of bird studies that circulated his reputation across the globe. The contemporary artist Joseph McGlennon, drawing on Audubon’s twin notions of the grand and lavish alongside the lavish and accessible – inspired the artist to undertake Australian Bird Studies from McGlennon’s Audubon Folio, 2018.
Capturing many of the birds to be found in the large-scale series Eclectus Australis, 2018, the McGlennon folio channels the 19th century notion of art as an intimate collecting pleasure. An older style of viewing to be experienced in the art of now. A viewing to be experienced slowly, colour plate by colour plate; to be savoured in private and at the collector’s leisure.