The Watkinson received a VERY large package yesterday morning. Shown here in its crate, in which it was shipped from Germany, is a new display case for our copy of John James Audubon’s double-elephant folio Birds of America.
Trinity’s copy was a bequest from alumnus Dr. Gurdon Russell (1815-1909) in May of 1909, and it is apparently the copy that Robert Havell (the engraver) owned. Havell is said to have selected every plate himself for this copy. Russell bought the set in 1882 for $1,150. The last set sold was knocked down at Sotheby’s (London) on December 6, 2010, and broke the record for the sale of any printed book–$11.5 million. A pinnacle of art, science, and book making, it is the most valuable printed book in the world.
The case will be placed near the wall behind it (after we remove the bookshelves), and we will work with a designer to create a permanent exhibition with information on the wall about Audubon, his book, and our copy’s provenance, which will be finished by August.