John James Audubon

John James Audubon

John James Audubon was an American conscience artist, naturalist, and ornithologist (born Jean-Jacques Rabin; April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851). His combined skills in art and ornithology led him to devise a plan to compile an adequate visual record of any species of bird found in the United States.  He was known for his detailed investigation of all kinds of American birds and his meticulous illustrations that presented the birds in their natural context. The Birds of America (1827–1839), his more popular publication, is rated as one of the best ornithological works ever published. In particular, Audubon is credited with finding 25 new species. As a result, he is the National Audubon Society's eponym, and several American cities, neighborhoods, and streets take his name.

Early years

On April 26, 1785, John James Audubon was born in Saint Dominigue (now Haiti). He was indeed the child of Mademoiselle Rabin and French adventurer Jean Audubon, a Creole woman who is only known for having passed away soon after giving birth to her son. Because Audubon's father was not wed to his mother, he was an illicit kid. As a trader, a farmer, and a slave broker in San Domingo, Audubon's father amassed wealth. With his dad and a half-sister, Audubon traveled to France in 1789 to live with his father's wife. In 1794, their dad and his wife fostered the kids.

Audubon's father planned out his schooling. He was sent to a neighborhood school where he received arithmetic, geography, painting, music, and swords tutoring. Audubon claims that he was uninterested in going to school and preferred fishing, shooting and exploring the outdoors. While his father was a commissioned officer, he spent most of his time with his stepmother. Audubon developed into a spoilt, obstinate young man who defied all attempts to both teach and rein him down. He was initially assigned to live at a naval station under his father's close supervision. When that didn't work, he briefly moved to Paris to study painting, but he didn't enjoy it there either.

The career of John James Audubon 

Because he had a property close to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, America, Audubon's father decided to send his son there. The kid first resided with his father's buddies. They tried to teach him English and other skills, but eventually, he insisted on moving to his father's farm. There, Audubon continued to lead a traditional country gentleman's lifestyle by hunting, fishing and honing his ability at painting birds—the only endeavor he was ever ready to put any real effort into. There was no such thing as a "naturalist" in the USA when Audubon started his work in the first half of the nineteenth century. Instead, men from various areas of life participated in natural history research, paying for their labor (collection, authoring, and publication) out of pocket.

To transfer freshly dead birds into realistic postures for his drawings, Audubon devised a way of putting wires into their corpses.

After a protracted conflict with the American representative of his father's business, Audubon temporarily returned to France in 1805. He established a business relationship while residing in France with Ferdinand Rozier, a relative of one of his father's business partners. After returning to America together, the two attempted to run a lead mine on the land. However, the partners decided to head west in August 1807. A string of commercial failures in several Kentucky communities followed, partly due to Audubon's predilection for foraging in the woods than maintaining the store.

He wedded Lucy Bakewell at this time. After the disasters with Rozier, Audubon tried to launch many additional enterprises with the help of his brother-in-law Thomas Bakewell and others; the final one being a sawmill mill in Henderson, Kentucky. Unfortunately, this endeavor failed in 1819, leaving Audubon with nothing except the clothing on his back, a rifle, and sketches. This mishap destroyed his business career.

Later Years

When Audubon's monumental project was eventually completed in 1838, and the text-only Ornithological Biography was published, he returned to the United States to create a "miniature" edition. In addition, he started sketching for a recent novel, Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, which he co-authored with John Bachman and for whom his kids did most of the sketching.

Audubon purchased a home on the Hudson River in 1841 and moved there to mentor and support budding scientists. During this time, the romantic image of Audubon as the great bird enthusiast and "American Woodsman" started to take shape. After battling the disease for some years, Audubon experienced a minor stroke in January 1851, accompanied by partial paralysis and excruciating agony. On January 27, 1851, Audubon passed away.

The last print was published in 1838, during which Audubon had attained notoriety and a fraction of luxury, had made numerous further trips throughout the nation in search of birds and had settled in New York City. His final marsupial work, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, was primarily finished by his eldest son, and those whose text has been written by his lifelong partner, the Lutheran pastor John Bachman (another anti-abolitionist whose daughters married Audubon's sons), was inspired by a trip he made out West in 1843. Age 65 saw Audubon's passing. He is interred in New York City's Trinity Cemetery at Broadway and 155th Street.

Birds of America

Audubon sold crayon pictures of specific individuals for $5 each for a while. Then he relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he worked as a taxidermist in Dr. Daniel Drake's newly established Western Museum, stuffing and mounting animal skins. Then, finally, he had the idea to publish his bird illustrations in 1820. 

He started searching for new bird species along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers while covering his expenditures by painting portraits. He tutored and painted while living in New Orleans for a spell. His wife eventually started a school for females and continued to work as an instructor. She had become the family's primary source of income while Audubon concentrated on publishing his illustrations.

Audubon visited Philadelphia in 1824 in search of a publisher. The supporters of Alexander Wilson (1766–1813), the other significant American ornithologist with someone with whom Audubon had started a furious feud in 1810, opposed him, though. So finally, he decided to gather funds for a journey to Europe, wherever he believed there would be more demand for his paintings. In 1826, he landed in Liverpool, England. From there, he traveled to  Scotland, Edinburgh, and London, England, where he recruited readers for his books. After eventually coming to terms with a London-based publisher, volumes of Birds of America emerged in 1827. The production and reprinting of all the books took 11 years.

Despite having no official scientific background, Audubon became famous almost once thanks to the popularity of his bird drawings, and by 1831, he was regarded as the nation's top naturalist. The wonders of nature sparked a passionate interest among the general public throughout this time. Anyone who could portray the pristine beauty of untamed specimens would undoubtedly get recognition as one of the top "men of science." As a result, the first significant assemblage of American birds, shown as close to their native settings as possible, was given to the world by Audubon.

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