Discovered! The First Engraving of an Audubon Bird
Abstract

Abstract:

In 1824 the eminent bird artist John James Audubon (1785–1851) created a drawing for use in the design of a New Jersey bank note. Although the artist mentions the drawing and the resulting paper currency in two separate diary entries, no one has ever been able to locate a bank note with an illustration that can be confidently attributed to Audubon. By tracing the graphic offerings of the bank note engraver Gideon Fairman (1774–1827) and his successors, this paper identifies the lost Audubon image and offers two possible explanations for why the physical evidence of Audubon’s first published bird illustration has proven so illusive to Audubon scholars.