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The Young Audubon

The Young Audubon

Photographer: Taylor, Henry

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1857

Shelfmark: 1753.b.29

Item number: 4

Length: 17.8

Width: 22.85

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

“When Phoebus lifts his lead out of the winter’s wave;
No sooner doth the earth her flowery bosom brave,
At such a time as the year brings on the pleasant spring
But hunts-up to the morn the feathered sylvans sings;
And in the lower grove, as on the rising knole,
Upon the highest spray of every mounting pole
Those choristers are perch’d, with many a speckled breast;
Then from her burnish’d gate the goodly glittering East
Gilds every lofty top, which late the humorous night
Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning’s sight;
On which the mirthful choirs, with their clear, open throats,
Unto the joyful morn so strain their warbling notes
That hills and valleys ring, and even the echoing air
Seems all composed of sounds about them everywhere.”

Poem by Michael Drayton, reprinted in 'The Sunbeam, a Photographic Magazine' (1857)

‘The Sunbeam, a Photographic Magazine’, edited by Philip Henry Delamotte, was published in five parts, each containing four albumen prints of landscape and architectural subjects. No.1 appeared in January 1857. In 1859 the collection was reissued as a book titled ‘The Sunbeam, a Book of Photographs from Nature’. Each photographic plate is paired with a poetic or prose text. Both images and text celebrate the romantic beauty of nature, landscape and monuments, seemingly untouched by mid-19th century industrial and urban development. Verse by the English poet Michael Drayton (1563-1631) accompanied this photograph by Henry Taylor of a small boy leaning against a stile in the midst of woodland, listening, we imagine, to birdsong. John James Audubon (1785-1851) was an American naturalist and artist whose most famous work was ‘The Birds of America’ (1830-39).

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