Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Crimson-bellied Woodpecker Illustration

Originally posted 12/14/10 - backdated to organize posts by topic.

Here is a hand-colored lithograph depicting the very colorful Crimson-bellied Woodpecker in Plate IX by Delahaye from Alfred Malherbe's Monographie des picidées (1859-1862).  Figure 1 and 3 represent male birds and figure 2, the bird with the white band on its neck, is a female.  Over the past several months, I have been posting the plates from this monumental work which illustrate the eleven species of Campephilus woodpeckers, a task that is now complete with the posting of this ninth plate. 

The monograph contains large illustrations of both sexes of the 140 woodpecker species new to science at the time and reduced illustrations of the known species.  The birds depicted here in the left background are Orange-backed Woodpeckers.  Not within the Campephilus genus, the large Orange-backed Woodpecker (Reinwardtipicus validus) of South-east Asia is the sole member of its genus.  Along with the members of the Flameback or Chrysocolaptes genus, perhaps (based upon its appearance) it is one of the species that is more closely related to the Campephilus tribe than the other woodpeckers.   

I was able to photograph all 123 hand-colored lithographic plates from the Monographie des picidées.  Each plate contains beautiful and interesting illustrations.  I hope to make all of the plates available online in the future, though I am not sure when I will get to it.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you're ever in need of the corresponding plate for a particular woodpecker species.

This image within the public domain appears here courtesy of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.


peacay said...


Bill Benish said...

What a great find! Do you have any idea how long it's been available? I'll do a post on this sometime soon.

Thanks for posting this link!

peacay said...

No, no idea how long it's been there. I have a book illustration blog and "someone" at Harvard recently showed me some search tricks to find illustrated books in their very esoteric (and closed) search engine.

This woodpecker book popped up in a 'fishing expedition' and I am myself just getting a selection of images together for a post in the next day or so (I'll probably post about 15 images of approx. 2000px x 3000px dimensions).

The funny thing: I've never seen a woodpecker. In my part of the world (Sydney) we only know of them via cartoons {and in all seriousness, it wasn't until I was an adult that I found out that they were not imaginary birds!}, so there's a certain romantic mystique surrounding them for me.
[I found your site from a search on the book title : I'm surprised there is so little mentioned online about it frankly]



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