There are seven wonders of the world but there really should be an eighth: The Birds of America by John James Audubon. A book that illustrates close to half the bird species of America, it consists of 435 plates that capture each species in its habitat, usually including both male and female, and sometimes chicks. The original images, rendered in watercolors and pastel crayon, were scaled to life size, so the original printed editions—published between 1828 and 1838—are huge. Extremely rare, they are known as the Double Elephant Folio. (Most of us know Audubon’s work through myriad smaller editions.) In the realm of nature art, nothing quite compares to Audubon’s achievement. This exhibition explores the history of the book, shows how Audubon worked, and includes a bound copy and 46 original prints, plus ephemera and taxidermy specimens. —L.J.
National Museum of Scotland Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK Get Directions »