Letter from John James Audubon (Liverpool, England)
to Robert Havell Jr. (London, England), December 31, 1827
Library, Manuscript Department

This letter dates from the first year of the Audubon-Havell collaboration, which began after the strike of the colorists in Lizars’s shop in June of 1827. Writing from Liverpool in an end-of-the-year spirit of assessment, JJA discusses receiving the fifth fascicle of plates in The Birds of America and his impending trip to London to deliver more works for Havell to engrave. He also sends wishes for the New Year to Robert Havell Senior and the entire Havell family. While he praises the coloring of the impressions of plates 21 and 22 (Northern Mockingbird with the rattlesnake and Purple Martin), he notes the lack of uniform coloring in the impressions of plate 17 (Mourning Dove) from the fourth fascicle, asking Havell to have his father investigate the matter. This revelatory document also gives us an indication of how the two artists communicated during Audubon’s absences from London and the Havell workshop.

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