Following on the success of his masterpiece, The Birds of America (1826-1838), John James Audubon embarked on another ambitious project: The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America. With the assistance of his two sons-John Woodhouse and Victor Gilford-along with naturalist John Bachman, Audubon intended to create a companion piece to The Birds of America. The term viviparous quadrupeds describe four-footed mammals whose offspring develop and obtain nourishment from within the mother’s body, rather than from an egg. By 1846, Audubon’s health had failed, and the task of completing the work fell to his two sons. John Woodhouse painted the remaining mammals from life while his brother Victor produced the backgrounds and acted as the business manager. John Bachman completed the accompanying scientific text.

The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America included 150 hand-coloured prints published from 1845 to 1848, three years before Audubon’s death.

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