Friday, September 4, 2009

Applewood Books Poultry

In their Pictorial America series, http://www.pictorialamerica.com/, Applewood Books reproduces 26 of the paintings done by J.W. Ludlow, most of them for Wright's Illustrated Book of Poultry, which first appeared in 1873. Most are in color, but several are black and white, what appear to be originally engravings.


Ludlow used prize-winning birds as models, but painted them as if they were perfect, so that the illustrations could be used to guide fanciers in breeding their birds. Remember, the first Standard of Excellence was published in 1874, so breeding and exhibition standards were only beginning to take hold. The first edition illustrations were replaced in later editions.




Dr. J. Batty reproduced 80 Lewis Wright illustrations in 1983, in Lewis Wright's Poultry, with notes updating the standards of the breeds. So far as I can tell, this book is no longer in print, but copies of it are available through used book sellers.


These historic illustrations are invaluable in documenting the past and tracing changes into the present day. I am grateful to Applewood Books for re-publishing them so that a wider audience can study them and have them available as they consider their flocks.

Unfortunately, much of the detail has disappeared as successive generations of reproduction have copied and re-copied these illustrations. The green sheen of the Black Frizzled Fowls, which belonged to Mr. Ludlow himself and won third place in the 'Any Variety' class in Oxford in 1872, is gone from the Applewood version. The color has shifted on all of them, some more than others. The Toulouse Geese painting is much darker and yellower than the original.

I find myself fortunate to have the original books available, in the SPPA Collection of antique poultry books, to compare with this modern reproduction. My hope is that modern technology will help Applewood improve future reproductions. A book of Rooster pictures is due in time for Christmas.

This book, priced at $19.95, will be joyously received by any poultry fancier on your Christmas list. It would also make a good gift for anyone involved in exhibiting birds. I look forward to more and better from Applewood. Available soon, but not yet listed on the web site.

2 comments:

BEECH PUBLISHING HOUSE said...

LEWIS WRIGHT & HIS POULTRY Dr JOSEPH BATTY (80 COLOURED PLATES) IS STILL AVAILABLE FROM THE PUBLISHERS, BEECH PUBLISHING HOUSE, MIDHURST, GU29 0JT. E-MAIL BEECHPOULTRY@BTINTERNET.COM. ALSO MANY OTHER POULTRY TITLES COVERING ALL BREEDS.

PoultryBookstore said...

Thanks for making these historic poultry books available. Is there a website?