Lecture and Exhibition - Audubon's Royal Octavo

Please note: This event will be held at Cunningham Park Hall, 75  Edgehill Road, Milton, MA.

Drawing from the Wakefield Estate’s own octavo edition of Audubon’s work, Audubon researcher Jess Clay will discuss the creation and distribution of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, and its subsequent impact on the United States and 19th-century natural history. The lecture complements and builds upon the exhibition of the collection, a set of hand-colored lithographs from the 1840s, which will be held at the Wakefield Estate, 1465 Brush Hill Road in Milton, May 2-4, 11am-3pm daily. By understanding Audubon’s life and artistic process alongside the personal underpinnings and political implications of the octavo edition, a new conception of the artist and his world emerges – one in which the man comes of age alongside his nation, and sets in motion a host of historical events and movements to come.

A graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Clay’s interest in John James Audubon and ornithology has taken him from rare book libraries to the Costa Rican rain forest. During a fellowship at Harvard’s Houghton Library, he conducted extensive research into the life and works of Audubon. His work at Houghton centered around Audubon’s literary and artistic engagements with Romanticism, and included the curation of a public exhibition, “Sublime and Manifest: The American Romanticism of John James Audubon.” In his senior thesis, Words of America: John James Audubon and the American Exceptionalism of Ornithological Biography, Mr. Clay explored Audubon’s oeuvre as a nationalist performance and as an early work of American artistic exceptionalism. Born and raised in Texas, Mr. Clay currently resides in Boston."

To buy your tickets, click here or call 617-333-0924. $10/members; $20/non-members.

Public Exhibition:
Bird Art: Audubon’s Royal Octavo
The Wakefield Estate
1465 Brush Hill Rd, Milton
Thursday, May 2 - Saturday, May 4; 11am-3pm daily
$5 suggested donation


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