Painting of ornithologist and artist John James Audubon.

John James Audubon

(1785 - 1851)

Born in the West Indies in 1785, John James Audubon as a youth lived in France—later dubiously claiming to have studied under the painter Jacques-Louis David—and traveled in 1803 to the United States to avoid conscription in Napoleon’s wars. After various failed business ventures and a stint as a taxidermist, he went to Europe to find engravers and an audience for his bird drawings, publishing the first volume of The Birds of America in 1827.

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