A selection of first edition and later edition Audubon octavo bird prints. From John James Audubon's Birds of North America, which has been called one of the "most beautiful, popular, and important natural history [works] published in America..." (Ron Tyler, Audubon's Great National Work, 1993.) All prints are original, hand-painted lithographs. First edition prints were published between 1840 and 1844, and are entirely handcolored. This first edition was the only edition supervised by Audubon himself. Later editions, created between about 1850 and 1870 were usually supervised by Audubon's sons. They often contain a printed background, known as a 'tint', while the subject itself was handcolored. It is usually not possible to determine from which of the editions between 1850 and 1870 an individual print has come, so prints from that period are denoted as 'later edition'. The plates were printed by J.T. Bowen of Philadelphia.