Nicholas Rougeux Painstakingly Restores Hundreds of 19th-Century Hummingbird Illustrations

Chicago-based designer Nicholas Rougeux is fascinated by early encyclopedic publications, from a 17th-century Dutch manuscript dedicated to mixing watercolors to Palladio’s The Four Books of Architecture. Most recently, he took an interest in ornithologist John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidæ, or Family of Humming-Birds.

Published between 1849 and 1861, the beautifully illustrated five-volume series contains 360 hand-colored lithographic plates made in collaboration with his assistant, Henry Constantine Richter. “The monograph is considered one of the finest examples of ornithological illustration ever produced, as well as a scientific masterpiece,” Rougeux says on the project’s website, which provides context about the original publication.

Phaethornis superciliosus

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