For his portrayal of these members of the crow family, which he executed in Charleston, Audubon used models taken from Townsend and Nuttall’s collection of western species. He positioned the Yellow-billed Magpie at the center with the Western Scrub-Jay at the top, below which perches the Steller’s Jay, with a pair of Clark’s Nutcrackers (a species discovered on the Lewis and Clark expedition and named after William Clark, 1770–1838) at the bottom. Maria Martin drew the sweetgum. Figure 1 is one of the 435 copper plates that Havell produced for the plates of The Birds of America. Today about 75 of them survive, four of which are in the N-YHS collection. Faced with steel for preservation, they allow one to appreciate the subtle intaglio techniques of etching, aquatint, and engraving that Havell used to translate Audubon’s watercolors to the copper plate (in reverse) for printing the plates of The Birds of America. They are rather like low relief sculptures.

John James Audubon (1785–1851) <em>Figure 1. Yellow-billed Magpie (</em>Pica nuttalli<em>), Steller’s Jay (</em>Cyanocitta stelleri<em>), Western Scrub-Jay (</em>Aphelocoma californica<em>), and Clark’s Nutcracker (</em>Nucifraga columbiana<em>), Study for Havell pl. 362</em>, 1836–37

John James Audubon (1785–1851)
Figure 1. Yellow-billed Magpie (Pica nuttalli), Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri), Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica), and Clark’s Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), Study for Havell pl. 362, 1836–37
Watercolor, graphite, pastel, black chalk, black ink, and gouache on paper, laid on card
Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.362
[with Maria Martin]

Robert Havell Jr. (1793–1878) after John James Audubon (1785–1851)<br />Copperplate for <em>Yellow-billed Magpie, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker</em>, plate 362, <em>The Birds of America</em><br />Copper, steel-faced<br />Gift of Mrs. John E. Parsons in memory of her husband, John E. Parsons, trustee, 1977.14

Robert Havell Jr. (1793–1878) after John James Audubon (1785–1851)
Copperplate for Yellow-billed Magpie, Steller’s Jay, Western Scrub-Jay, Clark’s Nutcracker, plate 362, The Birds of America
Copper, steel-faced
Gift of Mrs. John E. Parsons in memory of her husband, John E. Parsons, trustee, 1977.14

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