John James Audubon

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John James Audubon
1785-1851
Brown or Norway Rat: Male, Female, and Young. Verso: Sketch of a tail with measurements and notation
Watercolor and graphite on dark yellow-cream wove paper; verso: graphite.
24 1/2 x 32 5/8 inches (622 x 828 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan in 1910.
1976.12:1

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Inscription: 
Inscribed in graphite at top left, "No 9 Plate 44 (crossed out) / No 11 Plate 54". Inscribed in graphite at bottom center, "Mus decumnus, Linn. / Norway, Brown or Common House Rat. / 1. Males. 2. Female. 3. young". Inscribed in graphite at lower right, "Minnie's Land. Jany 18th 1843. J. J. Audubon".
Provenance: 
Theodore Irwin; from whom purchased in 1910 by J. Pierpont Morgan (see Lugt 1509).
Notes: 

Watermark: J. Whatman, Turkey Mill 1839.
Preparatory study for Plate 54 of "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America", 1845-1848. In the lithograph two melons were added, as well as another adult rat at the left.

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