[AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851). Audubon discovering that rats had destroyed his drawings. Yokohama: Japanese Department of Education, c. 1873.]

This charming portrait of Audubon was part of a series depicting prominent Western men of science; other subjects included Isaac Newton, Galileo, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Colt. Loosely translated, the caption recounts a story often told by Audubon himself: "Audubon was a famous naturalist studying birds and small mammals in America. Once, before embarking upon a trip, he asked his family to store his drawings. He kept these drawings in a box, and upon his return many months later he opened it to discover that rats had nested inside and chewed his drawings into tiny fragments ... For several days he was most distraught, but once again he took up his gun, pen and notebook and went out into the woods to study the birds and animals. He continued to sketch them and after three years the box was once again filled with his drawings, which after all he considered superior to those he had made before this calamity."

Color woodblock print, printed on rice paper, 347 x 234 mm. (Pasted at corners to modern mat board, some wear at upper right corner.) Matted and framed.
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