J. W. Hill – De Kay’s “Birds of New York”

Categories: Nature & Natural History
Written By: John

This is where a lot of my effort has been going lately. As soon as I got this book, I knew I had to get all the images edited and posted, as they are some of the nicest bird plates I have ever seen. The book not only has beautiful illustrations, but is historically notable because it was the first time hand-colored lithographs were used to illustrate a state bird book.   It is one of the favorite books in my library, and the scans do not even begin to do justice to the depth of color on the plates.

It is a very hefty book, and the binding is fairly weak. The cover is in very good condition, though, and is intact and clean complete with the gilt picture of a bird, so I will be putting the book up for sale in my bookstore soon. While the plates have unfortunately been stamped by an overzealous Australian librarian, the book remains one of the nicer extant copies I have come across. This is largely because the cover is in such good shape, not to mention that the book is still intact (there were only 300 or so copies issued with the colred plates, and most of these seem to have been dissembled so the plates could be framed or sold).

There are 141 full plates each containing two to three birds, and 303 figures, all of which I have edited as stand alone images from their plate.   The platesare in one folder, and the images in others.  For now, I am doing two versions of the individual bird images.  One is a cleaned up (heavily edited) JPG version.  This preserves the paper in its cleaned up state.  There will be noticeable edit marks, as there were a lot of flaws and dirtiness.   The other version will be a PNG version with the background removed (made transparent).   These should be useful for a lot of applications, although they will not all be posted for some time as it takes a while to make edit each PNG image.

Title: Zoology of New York, or the New-York Fauna, Part II, Birds
Author: James Ellsworth De Kay
Artist: J. W. (John William) Hill
Lithographer: George Endicott; and Packard, Gavit & Co.
Publisher: J. F. Schreiber
Date Published: 1844


The individaul FIGURES are HERE.

I will post a link to the PNG folder when I get it started.

Sample plate:

Bald Eagle and Slate-colored Hawk

Plate001 Figure 1 The Bald Eagle (Haliaetos leucocephalus) Figure 2 The Slate-colored Hawk (Astur fuscus)

and the figures as they look once separated and edited:

The Bald Eagle

Figure 1 – The Bald Eagle

The Slate-colored Hawk

The Slate-colored Hawk (Astur fuscus) (Sharp-shinned hawk) (Accipiter striatus)

One Response to “J. W. Hill – De Kay’s “Birds of New York””

  1. Julia Says:

    These are beautiful! Thank you!

    I’ve left a small donation through paypal. Thanks again for sharing your galleries!

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