Trogon Ambiguus from 'Tropical Birds', 19th century (coloured litho), Gould, John (1804-81) / Private Collection / The Bridgeman Art Library
English ornithologist John Gould (1804 – 1881) produced beautifully detailed lithographs of finches that were crucial to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Gould, who studied birds and taxidermy, was hired by London’s Zoological Society to maintain their ornithological collections. Dubbed “England’s Audubon,” he published over 3,300 color plates of birds that were vital to studies in Australia, Europe, New Guinea and Asia. When he died, Gould left behind unsold works weighing almost three tons.