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Audubon prints - Nature from calmer times. John James Audubon's Birds of America.
Welcome! Nature's always in style so bring home the calming beauty of a bygone era. The Princeton Double Elephant Edition - the world's only direct-camera edition - is said to be the finest Audubon print edition ever produced. Meticulously recreated from the originals (not from mere copies of originals) our collection thus offers a physical connection to Audubon's great life-sized work. We also feature the modern Rare Prints and Princeton Fine Art editions, both absolutely accurate re-creations of original Audubon prints. We guarantee your satisfaction. 100% money back guarantee if not satisfied for any reason.

Click here for a site index with Audubon references including informative videos. Contact us or chat below with any questions or special requests. 908.510.1621. Customer service, Why the name Princeton? How can I tell if my Audubon print is real? What are Audubon prints? What do the numbers mean?

Historical note: Between 1827 and 1838, John James Audubon, brilliant artist and naturalist who dedicated much of his life to painting the birds and quadrupeds of North America, published in London, England, in 'his own style', a series of 435 large-sized, hand-colored etchings with aquatints in a folio entitled The Birds of America. These were reproduced primarily by Robert Havell and Sons from Audubon's watercolor studies and often under the direct supervision of Audubon himself. Since he portrayed each bird life size, the larger birds often had to be drawn in feeding positions to fit on the largest copper engraving plates then available, approximately 27 x 39 inches. The largest bird was the male wild turkey, and the smallest was one of the minute hummingbirds. With the final publication of these prints, Audubon established his Birds of America as the definitive portrayal of American birds in realistic settings. These antique original prints, now more than 180 years old, are known in the print trade as the Audubon-Havell double elephant folio edition because each was printed on giant "double elephant" folio sheets of 100% cotton rag watermarked Whatman paper.

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What do the numbers mean? The number at top left of each double elephant is a group number. There were 87 groups of 5 prints each. The number at top right usually in Roman numerals is the individual plate number, from 1 to 435. Interestingly, plate numbers ending with 1 or 6 will be a larger bird or composition. Why? The first print in each group was generally a large bird or a full-page composition. Smaller numbers appearing next to birds within the image correspond to the type, sex or maturity of each bird as noted in the bottom script.

What do the abbreviations at the botton of the prints mean? "I am feted, feasted, elected honorary member of societies, making money by my exhibition and by my painting." John James Audubon. M.W.S. (Member of the Wernerian Society) F.R.S.E. (Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh) F.L.S. (Fellow of the Linnean Society) F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal Society) Eng. *Engraved) Cold. (Colored)

Historical note: When setting forth on this great project, Audubon wrote "...nothing, after all, could ever answer my enthusiastic desires to represent nature, except to copy her in her own way, alive and moving!" Moments of drama in natural settings is the appeal of Audubon's life-size prints. "Having studied drawing for a short while in my youth under good masters, I felt a great desire to make choice of a style more particularly adapted to the imitation of feathers than the drawings in water colours that I had been in the habit of seeing, and moreover, to complete a collection not only valuable to the scientific class, but pleasing to every person, by adopting a different course of representation from the mere profile-like cut figures, given usually in works of that kind." - John James Audubon

How were Audubon's originals produced? These watercolor studies were then taken to Robert Havell's London shop as models. Havell then engraved and etched a reverse image of the watercolor study onto a copper plate, some plates being as large as 27 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches, and others being smaller for the smaller images. After these plates were black-inked, dampened paper was placed upon them, and both were pressed together. The paper was then pulled, or peeled, off the plate resulting in a properly oriented black and white image, no longer reversed. Each black and white print was then colored by a team of colorists employed by Havell, closely noting not only the watercolor studies, but also notes that Audubon himself often wrote upon the watercolors. These engraved and colored prints referred to as the Audubon originals. Most of these originals were then bound together in four leather books. Over the years many have been unbound and the binding holes trimmed away. Thus, there may be small variations in the above size. Further, the large borders of some smaller images were often trimmed away by owners, in order to fit their print into a smaller frame.

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Thank you for visiting Princeton Audubon Limited.

Princeton Audubon Limited was founded in 1985 by the late David Johnson, a collector of superb Audubon originals and founder of the days paramount printing company - Princeton Polychrome Press. This company, now sold, achieved an enviable nationwide reputation by reproducing fine art prints for the National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Detroit Institute of Arts. At the zenith of his career and using exceptional artistic resources, he re-created the actual originals from his world-renowned personal collection. Using the direct-camera technique that he pioneered, along with oversized Kodak film with its infinite retention of detail, he produced these award winning one-of-a-kind re-creations.

The Princeton Audubon Double Elephant Edition Audubon author and collector William Steiner, Audubon Prints: A Collector’s Guide To Every Edition, states “True prints, true colors, incredible detail! Princetons are simply the finest Audubon lithographs ever produced!” Why? Far beyond common reproductions, Princeton double elephants are the world’s only direct camera Audubon fine art prints. We purchased the actual originals and physically used them to produce this edition. A giant camera with film the same size as the print took a direct-capture picture of the original, and this exact image was transferred directly to the metal printing plates, giving you a one to one connection to the actual originals. The Royal Society of London, where John James Audubon was a Fellow, displays our prints in Chicheley Hall, a 300 year old estate in Buckinghamshire, England which serves as the International Science Conference Center. A paper conservator addressed the crumbling portion of an original Havell Wood Duck by using the corresponding section of ours. Additionally, The New York Times featured our Purple Heron when rolling out their original online store. And Martha Stewart Living framed and featured our Snowy Owl. Universities have added our entire collection to their acquisitions. You can display these same prints in your home or office.  “Of all the full-size facsimiles of Audubon's prints, those from Princeton Audubon Ltd. come the closest in appearance and quality to the originals. Combining this with their very reasonable cost make the Princeton Audubon facsimiles winners for those looking to acquire some of the most dramatic American natural history images ever produced." - Chris Lane, Philadelphia Print Shop West, appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. “With their astounding detail, definition, and color, the Princeton direct-camera facsimiles have long set the standard in Audubon Birds of America lithographs." - Louise Mirrer, The New-York Historical Society.

Princeton Audubon Edition specifications. Double elephants (life size - 26 1/4 x 39 1/4) •Limited edition of 1500. •Pencil-numbered and embossed with the Princeton Audubon Limited seal. •Up to 11 color plates used. •Specially developed fade-proof inks. Absolute color fidelity to the actual original. •Printed on a 300 line. •Very heavy archival paper which is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives and is specially toned to match the actual color of the antique originals. •Registered to purchaser. •As permanently displayed at The Royal Society of London, to which Audubon belonged as a Fellow.

The The Rare Prints Edition The only giclee edition we sell alongside our own Audubon facsimiles. Like Princetons, these are reproductions of original Audubon Havells, not copies from 8 x 10 transparencies. Using ultra high-resolution images from top-of-the-line digital cameras the Giclee' printer sprays ink on watercolor paper at up to 4,000 dpi. The result is a reproduction that has all the color, detail and texture qualities of each original. These are truly beautiful pieces of art. Each image is printed with archival ink on 330 gram Somerset Velvet Enhanced paper and is a full-size facsimile of an actual original. The bird images measure approximately 26" x 40".

The Princeton Audubon Fine Art Edition Precision double elephant giclees or archival pigment prints produced from our own direct camera films and originals. Newly introduced, these are limited editions of 200 or 500 prints worldwide. This collection includes exceptional giclee or archival pigment prints of The Ivory-billed Woodpecker and The Long-billed Curlew, and The American Flamingo. Note: The three editions above, The Princeton Audubon Double Elephant Edition, The Rare Prints Edition, and The Princeton Audubon Fine Art Edition, are all double elephant facsimiles and can be displayed together.

The Princeton Audubon Essex NYHS Edition Reduced size lithographs produced by permission of The New-York Historical Society. These four prints are unique in their quality, paper, and size. Louise Mirrer, Director of the New-York Historical Society says, "Princeton has faithfully reproduced the N-YHS original engravings in a collector's edition of stunning quality and brilliant color." 

The Princeton Audubon Baby Elephant Edition Reduced size. An exciting edition produced from the actual originals in a reduced size. Outstanding color and detail. In some cases, we used our own direct camera films to produce these prints. The reduced size allows for expanded display opportunities.

The Princeton Audubon Imperial Edition Direct camera fine art prints of Audubon’s popular quadrupeds. Princeton was the first company to produce same size fine art reproductions of these beautiful mammals. Measuring 21 x 28 inches, these are beautifully printed on archival Somerset paper which is imported from England.

Audubon Print References

Audubon information you can use.

Print Identification and Authentication

  Reproduced by permission of the author - Ron Flynn Is Your Audubon Print An Original?Illustrated Print Identification and Authenticationby...

Audubon Octavo Print “States” Versus “Editions”, Plus Valuations, Collecting, and the Marketplace.

Reproduced by permission of the author - Ron Flynn Audubon Octavo Print “States” Versus “Editions”, Plus Valuations, Collecting, and the...

A Brief Introduction to Audubon and the Original Editions

Reproduced by permission of the author - Ron Flynn A Brief Introduction to Audubon and the Original Editionsby Ron Flynn...

Do You Really Own A 1st Edition Octavo Quad Print?

Reproduced by permission of the author - Ron Flynn Do You Really Own A 1st Edition Octavo Quad Print?by Ron...