Are Princeton Audubon Editions Audubon Originals?
No, and we pencil in the edition number under the lower left script to distinguish them from originals. They do however have a unique physical connection to Audubon originals. Regarding reproductions (In our case re-creations) most other editions simply reproduced a photograph of an original, whereas we reproduced the actual originals. We purchased originals from Sotheby's and produced in our Princeton New Jersey plant the world's only direct camera facsimile re-creations.
How can I authenticate a Princeton Audubon print?
Princetons are absolutely exact documents of the actual originals, and often confused as such. How can I tell that my print is an authentic Princeton and not an Audubon original? Being direct camera productions, Princetons have the same feel and look of the Originals. Side by side you cannot tell the difference with the naked eye. However, most Princetons sold from our offices have the embossed Princeton seal at the lower right and the edition number penciled in at the lower left.
The paper is Mohawk Superfine Cover Stock which is specially toned to match the average tone of the existing originals. The paper is not heavy such as that of a giclee, but strong and firm such as the actual original Whatman paper. There is no plate mark, false plate mark, or counter mark on a Princeton.
Further, Princetons are printed on a 300 line, meaning that 300 points of ink fit along a one-inch line. This is exceptional printing far beyond common reproductions. You will need a high powered loupe to distinguish these dots.
“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. "True prints, true colors, incredible detail. Princetons are simply the finest Audubon facsimiles ever produced!” - William Steiner, Audubon print collector and author of Audubon Prints: A Collector’s Guide To Every Edition. "Of all the Audubon reproductions, Princetons come the closest in appearance and quality to the originals." Chris Lane, guest appraiser on PBS Antiques Roadshow. "Princeton Audubons stand above all other modern offset facsimile reproductions. The colors are bright, fresh and natural looking, and the amount of detail seen in the images is extraordinary." - Audubon expert Ron Flynn.
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As Seen In ...
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.
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 absolute finest of today’s giclee or archival pigment prints.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. You will even notice differences in paper tone that match the tone of the each individual print's original paper. 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".
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,
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."
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.
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.Between 1827 and 1838, John James Audubon, American artist-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 North America. 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!" 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 stooped or feeding positions to fit on the largest copper engraving plates then available, approximately 27 x 39 inches.
What is an Audubon print?
An Audubon print is either an original produced by Audubon and/or his family during the ninteenth century or any of the later reproductions. Audubon produced prints on paper, as did those who produced reproductions. They are all Audubon prints, a rather generic term. Thus it is best to differentiate by simply terming the originals as original Audubon prints. We advise caution as several Audubon print websites do not clearly distinguish between ninteenth century originals and their own reproductions, sometimes terming their reproductions as Havells (Audubon's engraver) instead of reproductions of Havells. You will also often see common reproductions on sites such as eBay presented as originals. Further, Audubon prints advertised as vintage are usually reproductions of little or no value.
What is the value of an Audubon print?
All original Audubon prints have value. However, there is no price list since each print differs from the other regarding condition and provenance. Guidance can be given based on auction and private sales. All prices listed for originals on the Internet or bricks and mortar stores should be considered asking prices. A word of caution - the presence of script at the bottom of the print saying that it was drawn from nature by Audubon, or engraved by Havell or Bowen, does not indicate originality, as reproductions also reproduce such script. The smallest of Audubon originals, the octavo birds and mammals can have a value of less than one hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the popularity of the image and condition of the print. Imperial mammals which measure about 21 x 28 inches are generally valued from about five hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, again depending upon the popularity of the image and condition of the print. Audubon Havells rarely sell for less than one thousand dollars for smaller images but can sell for upwards of one hundred and fifty thousand for the larger images, again depending upon the popularity of the image and the condition of the prints.
Audubon chose Whatman paper for his originals. Manufactured in Kent, England, this was the finest paper available. James Whatman developed wove paper, and continued manufacturing it until his death in 1759. His son, James, then ran the business, but sold it to Thomas Hollingsworth in 1792. The Hollingsworth family continued making this paper until 1976. This double elephant paper measures about 29 x 39 inches and has a watermark on the back - J WHATMAN - followed by a date. Some sheets additionally have TURKEY MILL countermarked into the paper. This is thought to refer to the mills original purpose, grinding Turkey wheat from India. George Washington signed State documents on Whatman paper, Napoleon wrote his will on Whatman paper while on the Island of St. Helena, and, yes, Queen Victoria used Whatman paper for her personal stationary.
The Whatman Watermark
The watermark, which is actually a countermark, can be seen on the back of untrimmed Havells while held up to a source of light and stretches across the paper for about 10 inches. Look a few inches within the long edge of the paper. The name J Whatman is followed by the year the paper was manufactured. The name Turkey Mill appears in some countermarks, evidently alluding to the mill’s original purpose of grinding Turkey Wheat from India.