Audubon’s Southeastern Explorations


August 1        
Sails from England, arrives New York City September 4

October 2–15
To Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, and Fayetteville, North Carolina

October 16     
Arrives in Charleston, South Carolina, and the next day meets John Bachman

Oct 18-Nov. 7
Visits Sea Islands and Cole’s Island (near Charleston)

November 15             
To St. Augustine, Florida


Boating in Florida on Halifax River and to the source of St. John’s River

March 5          
Sails from St. Augustine, stops at Savannah, Georgia, reaches Charleston late March

April-May 7   
Sails to Indian Key, Florida

May 7–14       
At the Dry Tortugas (islands off the southwestern coast of Florida)

End of May    
At Cape Sable and Florida Bay, but could not acquire a Flamingo

To Charleston, then to Philadelphia

In Camden, New Jersey

After the publication of the first volume of the Ornithological Biography in March of 1831 and a visit to Paris, Audubon needed to supply Havell with new watercolor models. To that end, JJA and Lucy set sail from Portsmouth and arrived in New York City on September 4, 1831. Since Audubon aimed to capture all North American avian species for The Birds of America, he turned to explore a new region: the southeastern coast, which was rich in the water birds he sought. After a brief stop in Philadelphia, where he was joined by an English taxidermist Henry Ward (1812–1878) and the landscape painter George Lehman, the men traveled in mid-October to Charleston, South Carolina. In that culturally rich city Audubon met the Reverend Dr. John Bachman, an amateur naturalist who would become a life-long friend and collaborator, and his sister-in-law, Maria Martin, an amateur artist who painted some of the botanical elements in Audubon’s later compositions. These four people were the most important dramatis personae in Audubon’s peregrinations throughout the Southeast, of which he recounted many incidents in the Ornithological Biography. Assorted other individuals―hunters, boatmen, and amateur naturalists, among them―also played roles. Bachman’s eccentric household, with its menagerie and specimens, on Routledge Avenue in Charleston, became a kind of occasional American headquarters for Audubon’s enterprise through 1837. In fact, he painted many watercolors in Bachman’s study. During this period, JJA was peripatetic and in continuous motion, returning to the Northeast as well as England. Nevertheless he managed to start at least 44 watercolor models (34 of which are exhibited in Parts Unknown).

Possible candidates for reproduction:

<i>Snowy Egret (</i>Egretta thula<i>), Havell pl. 242</i>, 1832

John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula), Havell pl. 242, 1832
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite with scraping and selective glazing on paper, laid on card; 29 5/16 x 21 3/8 in. (74.5 x 54.3 cm)
Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.242
[with George Lehman]

<i>Long-billed Curlew (</i>Numenius americanus<i>), Havell pl. 231</i>, 1831

John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus), Havell pl. 231, 1831
Watercolor, graphite, black ink, gouache, and pastel with scratching out and selective glazing on paper, laid on card; 25 1/16 x 37 3/4 in. (63.7 x 95.9 cm)
Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.231
[with George Lehman]

<i>Wilson’s Snipe (</i>Gallinago delicata<i>), Havell pl. 243</i>, 1832

John James Audubon (1785-1851)
Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata), Havell pl. 243, 1832
Watercolor, graphite, gouache, pastel, black chalk, collage, and oil with touches of black ink and selective glazing on paper, laid on card; 14 7/8 x 21 7/16 in. (37.8 x 54.5 cm), irregular
Purchased for the Society by public subscription from Mrs. John J. Audubon, 1863.17.243
[with George Lehman]

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