Early in the 1800s John James Audubon conceived of the project of painting all the species of birds in North America. He realized his ambition with the publication of Birds of America. This pioneering work has become an undisputed classic. The 150 prints compiled here in Audubon's Masterpieces from the first Royal Octavo edition conclusively establish the breadth and depth of Audubon's Achievement. The son of a French naval officer and a Creole woman, Audubon was born in Haiti in 1785, educated in France and moved to his family's estate near Philadelphia in 1803. It was there that his love of birds and his desire to draw them became the driving force and consuming passion of his life. Audubon devoted his life to the single pursuit of accurately yet artistically capturing the intricate details and individual splendor of the birds of North America. The enduring popularity and relevance of his work attests to his success both as a scientist and an artist. Today, Audubon's name is synonymous with wildlife preservation, and he is recognized as one of the greatest artists of his time. The 150 prints in this book are known as being among the very best examples of Audubon artistry. From the Carolina Parrot, now sadly extinct, to the rare Whooping Crane and the more common blue birds and woodpeckers, Audubon's portrayals are among the finest examples of wildlife art in existence. This exquisite collection of plates represents Audubon's genius at its very height. Audubon's Masterpieces is without a doubt one of the most magnificent collections of bird prints every published.