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Paradise Riflebird, Ptiloris paradises, John Gould, from Birds of Australia, 1840–1869, hand-colored lithograph.

Hand-colored prints of birds from Australia by John Gould, one of the most important naturalists and illustrators of the nineteenth century, are the focus of a new display that opens July 10 at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.

The mini-exhibit, Selections from The Birds of Australia, commemorates the 175th anniversary of Gould’s arrival in Australia, which resulted in the famous book, The Birds of Australia. More than fifty lithographs of colorful birds will be on display through January 5, 2014.

The mini-exhibit complements the large Birds in Art exhibit currently on display at the museum.

Based on almost two years of travel in Australia and surrounding islands, Gould’s The Birds of Australia was published in the 1840s and is considered to be his masterpiece. The work is the most exhaustive book ever produced focusing on the birds of that continent. Gould collected and documented so many new species in his travels—more than 300—that very few additions have been made since.

“In addition to serving as important scientific works, the exhibited prints are stunningly colored and flawlessly drafted, highlighting the exquisite plumage and elegance of these birds from Australia,” said McClung Museum Director Jeff Chapman.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed on July 4. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information building at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on weekdays. Parking passes are not needed on the weekends.

For more information about the McClung Museum and its collections and exhibits, visit the website.


Catherine Shteynberg (865-974-6921,

Christina Selk (865-974-2143,