The two specimens and the nest that Audubon portrayed in this watercolor model were sent to him from the West by Nuttall, who described the male of the species as “a breathing gem, or magic carbuncle of glowing fire, stretching out its gorgeous ruff, as if to emulate the sun itself in splendour.” Audubon first laid in the composition in graphite and then executed the watercolor in Charleston; Maria Martin painted the nest and the blooming spider-flower.

John James Audubon (1785–1851)<br /><em>Rufous Hummingbird (</em>Selasphorus rufus<em>), Study for Havell pl. 379</em>, 1836–37

John James Audubon (1785–1851)
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), Study for Havell pl. 379, 1836–37
Watercolor, graphite, black ink, and gouache with touches of pastel and selective glazing on paper, laid on card, 21 1/8 x 15 15/16 in. (53.7 x 40.5 cm)
Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.379
[with Maria Martin]

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