Princeton Audubon Ltd. - World-class Double Elephant Audubon Prints - 908.510.1621



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Welcome to Princeton Audubon!  

Got feathers?

We sell only fine art, not common posters or pictures. The spectacular Princetons in Gallery 1 are the world's only direct-camera Audubon double elephant lithographs.  The outstanding prints in Gallery 2 are the finest of today's archival pigment editions. Both are full-size. As seen in The New York Times and The Royal Society of London.

Detailed here is our Band-tailed Pigeon. Yes, pigeons are beautiful too!

Please note: Prints purchased today will be shipped February 26th. Thank you.

How beautiful is this?

Roseate Spoonbill - unframed $250

Princeton Essex NYHS Edition, reduced size 19 x 23 inches.

Heavy archival fine art paper - fade-proof inks 

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Produced from the originals held by The New-York Historical Society. Louise Mirrer, Director of the New-York Historical Society says, "Princeton has faithfully reproduced the N-YHS original engravings in a collector's edition of stunning quality and brilliant color."                                                                                                                                                                             

Come home to Audubon!  Fine art from calmer times.

Featured original Imperial Quadruped

Plate 106 - Columbian Black-tailed Deer  (View all original Imperial Quadrupeds)
Imperial Edition - 1845-1848 - One of only 303 produced
Good condition with moderate foxing as shown

Thank you for visiting Princeton Audubon Limited. We invite you to invest in fine art from calmer times - the works of John James Audubon. Princeton double elephants are far beyond common reproductions.  The actual antique originals were purchased and physically centered in the re-creation process, resulting in absolutely exact documents of the original art. The prestigious Royal Society of London, where Audubon himself served as a Fellow, chose Princeton prints for permanent display.That's a jolly good recommendation! 

Princeton Audubon double elephant prints in Gallery 1 and Rare Print giclees in Gallery 2 are same size (facsimile) prints and can be displayed together. An example of this is the Princeton Snowy Owl and the Rare Print Gyrfalcon. These display together beautifully!.We also offer to our clients reduced size Audubon prints in Gallery 3, such as this beautiful Great Blue Heron. View Audubon Quadrupeds in Gallery 4, and one of a kind offers in our Basement.

Original Imperial Quadrupeds.

Original Octavo Quadrupeds already matted. Each sells for just $350.

Original Octavo Birds

Original Havells.

Original Biens.

Princetons in Gallery 1 were produced by the late David Johnson, a Master Printer and collector of Audubon originals who owned the paramount printing company in the country - Princeton Polychrome Press. This company, now sold, achieved an enviable nationwide reputation by reproducing fine art prints for the National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Detroit Institute of Arts and many more.

Guarantee: Return prints in original condition and packaging within 14 days of delivery for a complete refund. 

Please note: Princetons are not common reproductions! Princetons are viewed as the finest Audubon prints ever accomplished. But beyond what you can see, the superior materials such as specially made fade-proof inks and specially toned paper which is stressed for 300 years can give you confidence that you are purchasing something special. Speaking of our paramount edition in Gallery 1 -

"They are true prints, great paper, incredible detail and true colors...simply the finest Audubon facsimiles ever produced!" - Bill Steiner, Audubon Prints: A Collector's Guide To Every Edition.

"Of all the Audubon reproductions, Princetons come the closest in appearance and quality to the originals." - Chris Lane, guest appraiser on PBS Antiques Roadshow. 

Special Combination Offer - Northern Birds of Prey

We suggest a dark wood frame with a mounted accent lamp focused on the lower birds.

Snowy Owl - Princeton Edition, more info

26 1/2 x 39 1/2, $1,200

Iceland or Gyrfalcon - Rare Print Edition, more info

28 x 39, $1,200

How accurate is Princeton detail?

Please note the dark sky detail from our Snowy Owl print. Most common reproductions simply have a smooth wash of black near the 'silver lining' of the evening clouds. But examine the black areas of this detail. You will instead notice hundreds of tiny dabs of black. Why is this? When Robert Havell prepared the smooth copper plates, he did not simply engrave. He also used chemicals to etch thousands of tiny depressions into the plates. These would each become tiny reservoirs for the black ink that was later wiped onto the copper plates. When the dampened Whatman paper was pressed against the copper plate, the ink would be transferred to the sheet of paper. The tiny dabs you see in our exact reproduction are not only evidence of the etching done by Havell. but also the mark of a faithful re-creation of the original.

Princetons are exact documents of the actual originals.

You can't top this!

The Brown Pelican

"What a wonderful bird is the pelican-Its beak can hold more than its belly can,..."

Princeton Audubon Double Elephant Edition of 1500.

Print measures 26 1/4 x 39 1/4. More info.  See a detail!

Regular retail - $1,200.  Purchase today as our featured print for $750! (Unframed)

Audubon probably drew this adult pelican in the Florida Keys in April or May 1832. Landscape artist, George Lehman, painted the mangrove limb.

The brown pelican is a ponderous bird, but with its six-and-one-half-food wingspread has a powerful flight which it alternates with short glides.  The bird carries a large pouch under its lower bill and has an appetite for fish as large as the pouch.   American children learn of the brown pelican through a well known bit of doggerel that begins:  "What a wonderful bird is the pelican-Its beak can hold more than its belly can,..."

A long line of these birds flapping and sailing, often in unison, is a familiar coastal sight.  When fishing, the birds fly aloft, spot the schools of fish, then head downwind, pull back their wings, and plunge beak-first with a grand splash.

Audubon wrote:  "The brown pelicans are as well aware of the time of each return of the tide, as the most watchful pilots.  Though but a short time before they have been sound asleep, yet without bell or other warning, they suddenly open their eyelids, and all leave their roosts, the instant when the waters...resume their motion." 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Princeton - 26 1/4 x 39 1/4

Regular retail $1,200

Pileated Woodpecker

Princeton - 26 1/4 x 39 1/4

Regular retail $1,200

Carolina Parrot

Princeton - 26 1/4 x 38

Regular retail $1,200

Great Northern Diver or Loon

28 x 39, More info

Historical Note: Audubon prints are unique, as they were the first bird illustrations made available to the public that were drawn in realistic settings, or as is engraved into the lower left of each copperplate, "Drawn from Nature." Audubon himself put it this way... "Having studied drawing for a short while in my youth under good masters, I felt a great desire to make choice of a style more particularly adapted to the imitation of feathers than the drawings in water colours that I had been in the habit of seeing, and moreover, to complete a collection not only valuable to the scientific class, but pleasing to every person, by adopting a different course of representation from the mere profile-like cut figures, given usually in works of that kind." - John James Audubon

The Initials F.R.S. refer to "Fellow, Royal Society" of London to which Audubon belonged. More info.

Princeton News

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill adds Princeton Audubon Prints to its collection. UNC, through its fine Wilson Library, has recently acquired a full collection of Princeton prints. There are many museums and institutions that hold Princetons, since Princetons are far beyond mere reproductions. These are living, historic documents in that they are absolutely exact copies of actual Audubon originals.

Chicheley Hall, a 300 year old estate in Buckinghamshire, England, is the home of the International Science Conference Center of The Royal Society of London. Audubon was a fellow of this Society. You will notice the letters F.R.S at the bottom of all Audubon originals. These stand for Fellow, Royal Society. This Society chose Princeton prints to display along with their own Audubon originals. A jolly good recommendation!  See pictures.

The Fine Art section of the New York Times online store was initiated by a full page ad in their print edition showing the Purple Heron. In one day, 42 of these fine art prints were sold. Here is one displayed in the offices of the New York Times.

Martha Stewart Living asked to use and frame our Snowy Owl. They chose all white framing materials. View picture.




Is your original octavo a 1st edition?

Match your print with this listing of 1st edition originals!


Audubon Spectacular!

The Purple Heron or Reddish Egret, 26 1/4 x 39 1/4. More info.  See a detail!

Regular retail $1,400

Audubon drew both the birds and the background in Florida in April 1832.  When he first saw them in the Keys, he puzzled at their coloration:  “Some of them were as white as driven snow, the rest of a delicate purplish tint, inclining to grey on the back and wings, with heads and necks of a curious reddish colour.  Males and females there were, but they were all of one species…”  He concluded that those with white plumage were immature birds.  He was incorrect, since in this species, coloring depends on the individual and has no relation to either age or sex.  It is dimorphic and displays two color phases, one white, the other purplish blue.  The birds illustrated here are both adults.

Authenticate Princetons

Princeton double elephant prints have a seal on the lower right of the print, and the edition reach is penciled in on the lower left just under the script. Additionally the paper has the look and feel of the originals. It is not pencil thin such as Amsterdams nor overweight such as many modern giclees. A well known professor at a New York university uses our prints as a demonstration of the highest grade of printing.

Historical note: "...nothing, after all, could ever answer my enthusiastic desires to represent nature, except to copy her in her own way, alive and moving!   Merely to say, that each of my illustrations is of the size of nature, were too vague ... Not only is every object, as a whole, of the natural size, but also every portion of each object. The compass aided me in its delineation, regulated and corrected each part, ... The bill, the feet, the legs, the claws, the very feathers as they project one beyond another, have been accurately measured." John James Audubon. Ornithological Biography, Volume 1

Simply magnificent!

The Rare Print Great Blue Heron.  28 x 39 inches.  More info.

Victoria's Secret

Audubon used the finest paper then available, Whatman paper, which was also used by Queen Victoria for her personal stationary, George Washington for state documents, and the exiled Napoleon when writing his will on the island of St. Helena.

Enjoy this video of Audubon's life and work!

The exceptional American White Pelican.

26 1/4 x 39 1/4, extra heavy fine art paper. More info.  See a detail!

We suggest minimal matting with a frame mounted lamp focused on the breast.

Special award: In Audubon's day, Philadelphia was the center of publishing in the young United States.  Today it is the headquarters of Neographics, a professional Graphic Arts Association of printers and lithographers from the surrounding 62 county area.  In 1987, the print you are looking at won their "Nth" award, or Best in Show.  Some say it may be the finest Audubon re-creation ever produced.

Based on a composition painted perhaps in Florida in 1831 or 1832.  Landscape artist, George Lehman, worked on the background.

The white pelican, with a wingspread of nine feet, does not plunge for food like the brown pelican, but fishes as it swims along, using the large bag that hangs from he lower part of its bill as a dip-net.  It often gathers in groups for cooperative fishing.   It nests for the most part far inland in the western half of the continent.

Audubon wrote:  "Ranged along the margins of the sand-bar, in broken array, stand a hundred heavy-bodied Pelicans...Pluming themselves, the gorged Pelicans patiently wait the return of hunger.  Should one chance to gape, all, as if by sympathy, in succession open their long and broad mandibles, yawning lazily and ludicrously...But mark, the red beams of the setting sun tinge the tall tops of the forest trees; the birds experience the cravings of hunger...they rise on their columnar legs, and heavily waddle to the water...And now the the little fishes toward the shallow shore, and then, with their enormous pouches spread like so many bag-nets, scoop them out and devour them in thousands."

Original Octavo 1st Edition White Ibis

Above: Detail only. Click here to see entire print.

First edition. Measures 6 1/2 x 10 inches.

Birds of America Synopsis  (See also our Print Primer)

"Having studied drawing for a short while in my youth under good masters, I felt a great desire to make choice of a style more particularly adapted to the imitation of feathers than the drawings in water colours that I had been in the habit of seeing, and moreover, to complete a collection not only valuable to the scientific class, but pleasing to every person, by adopting a different course of representation from the mere profile-like cut figures, given usually in works of that kind."  John James Audubon

Between 1827 and 1838, John James Audubon, brilliant artist and naturalist who dedicated much of his life to painting the birds and quadrupeds of North America, published in London, England, in 'his own style', a series of 435 large-sized, hand-colored etchings with aquatints in a folio entitled The Birds of America. These were reproduced primarily by Robert Havell and Sons from Audubon’s watercolor paintings and often under the direct supervision of Audubon himself. Since he portrayed each bird life size, the larger birds often had to be drawn in unusual positions to fit on the largest copper engraving plates then available, approximately 27 x 39 inches. The largest bird was the wild turkey cock, and the smallest was one of the minute hummingbirds. With the final publication of these prints, Audubon established his Birds of America as the definitive portrayal of American birds in realistic settings. These antique original prints, now more than 170 years old, are known in the print trade as the Audubon-Havell double elephant folio edition because each was printed on giant "double elephant" folio sheets of 100% cotton rag watermarked Whatman paper.

Somewhat more than 200 complete sets were sold. The exact number was not accurately recorded, but most were bound in four large volumes for the subscribers. It is estimated that there are about 130 of the complete bound sets of these original prints still in existence. There are also known to be at least three unbound, flat sheet sets, one of which is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. In recent years a number of complete volumes have been cut apart and auctioned off as individual prints at ever-increasing prices. The American White Pelican, the Snowy Owl, and the Wild Turkey Cock can sell for upwards of $100,000 each if in good condition. A Snowy Owl is currently offered by a New York dealer for $125,000. Recently, a complete set brought over $11,000,000 at auction.