Henry Sotheran Antique Prints Gallery, London 19th March As World Land Trust (WLT) Council Member and wildlife writer, Simon Barnes, said in his address to guests at the opening night of the Hummingbird Exhibition at Sotheran's on 19 March:
"No one, however blind and indifferent to nature, can fail to be captured by hummingbirds. They are the birds that every one understands: a bird that can't fail to provoke wonder."
Sotheran's call their exhibition of rare prints by John Gould, A Shimmer of Hummingbirds, and their Print Room, downstairs on Sackville Street, certainly does, at the moment, shimmer with their beauty. The prints date back to the mid 1850s when John Gould and his artists found
"A new mode of representing the luminous and metallic colouring of the Trochilidae. ... The effect is produced by a combination of transparent oil and varnish colours on pure leaf gold ..."
(From the official catalogue, 1851.)
Henry Sotheran Ltd bought the estate of John Gould in 1881 and although they have a large number of Hummingbird prints, many of those in the exhibition have not been in stock for over twenty years. The walls at Sotheran's are decked with 42 beautifully hand coloured lithographs, all with magical gem-like quality to match their gem-like names: Brazilian Ruby, Fiery Topax and Glittering-bellied Emerald to name just three of them.
After the event:
The Exhibition ran until 10 April and was open Monday-Friday: 9.30 am - 6pm and Saturday: 10am - 4pm. Entrance was free of charge.
World Land Trust received 50% of the profits on all prints sold during the exhibition.
- Press release: Hummingbirds Set to Fly Out of Sotheran's, Piccadilly