A long-lost engraving from noted artist and naturalist John James Audubon (1785-1851) of a drawing of a running grouse has been discovered. The engraving was used in the design for a New Jersey bank note. The artist mentions the drawing and the resulting engraved paper money in two separate diary entries, but no one has ever been able to locate or identify such an illustration. It is Audubon’s first published illustration of a bird.
In an upcoming article in the Journal of the Early Republic, Robert M. Peck, curator of art at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and Eric Newman, an authority on American money, reveal their discovery and explain how Audubon’s entry into the world of commerce took place.
Audubon painted, cataloged, and described the birds of North America in a form far superior to what had gone before, thus bringing wildlife to people all over the world in a way never before known. His Birds of America is still considered one of the greatest examples of book art.