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21st December 2010
A collaboration between Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Birmingham Library has made prints of the most expensive book in the world available through BMAG's prints website.
John James Audubon's Birds of America is the most valuable printed book in the world. A copy has belonged to Birmingham Central Library for over 100 years and was purchased by the Birmingham Subscription Library after Audubon visited England in 1830 to promote the book to potential buyers. He spent the small fortune of $115,000 bringing the book to print. The Central Library's four volume copy includes 435 hand-coloured aquatints and measures 3 feet by 2 feet unopened. The vividness of the prints were extraordinary by the standards of the early 19th century and have retained their ability to dazzle. Audubon depicted the weird and wonderful birds that he encountered as a dedicated naturalist and artist.
A selection have recently been photographed and made available to order on behalf of Birmingham Library through Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery's prints website: www.bmagprints.org.uk
If you have any questions, please contact Tom Heaven in the Museum's Picture Library:
Tel: 0121 303 3155
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