"Well-written. The picture emerges of a complex personality . . . a failure at several businesses but an astute judge of people . . . always happiest when roaming the woods and fields, and painting."
-David Allen Sibley (author of The Sibley Guide to Birds), The Boston Globe
Audubon's Elephant was the name given to John James Audubon's greatest work, The Birds of America-a folio of 435 life-size ornithological prints that would prove the most enduring depiction of birdlife in the United States. In 1826, still hard at work, his ambition threatened to exhaust the largesse of American aficionados and, seeking funds and fame, Audubon made his first trip to England.
British naturalist Duff Hart-Davis tells how Audubon's exotic woodsman's charm and astonishing artistic gift won him the attention of the aristocracy and an admiring public at a time when Americans in Britain could still cause a stir. Ultimately, his impassioned presentations to rooms full of smitten bird lovers helped him raise the funds he needed to complete The Birds of America. Lavishly illustrated with images from Audubon's life and work, Audubon's Elephant is an inspired depiction of the most important chapter in the life of America's most famous naturalist.
Duff Hart-Davis, himself a naturalist, has written a lively, highly engaging biography of Audubon’s heady and memorable days as a great American artist abroad.