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With such a statement no one could disagree. While he was completing his series of paintings and the accompanying texts for publication, he was constantly supervising the engraving of black-and-white plates and the hand coloring. He was also acting as his own publisher, promotion agency and sales director as well as treasurer, bill collector and salesman. "Good God, if this is not Labour, I Know not what Labour is," he wrote Lucy one evening after having trudged something more than ten miles hauling his heavy portfolio in a fruitless quest for new subscribers to the project. On another occasion he wrote, "If I could be spared from Drawing Birds and from going to England for 12 months after my next Voyage, I could procure in that time and in our own Country too, one hundred additional Subscribers." In the end some 200 copies of the giant portfolios were issued, with such eminent names as "The Honourable Daniel Webster," "Henry Clay, Esq.," "His Imperial and Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany," "His Majesty Philippe I, King of the French," "Her Most Excellent Majesty, Queen Adelaide, England" and along several learned institutions in America and Europe - among the original subscribers. A great many of those sets have been broken up and the plates sold individually, a number of the subjects at prices many times higher than that of the entire work when Audubon first marketed it. By the time Audubon died in 1851 at the age of sixty-six, this "Creole de Saint-Dominque," as he was referred to in his father's will, this inept Kentucky merchant, a one-time bankrupt, had built his idiosyncrasy into an organized institution of international stature; and into a business with its own momentum which, astonishingly, grossed very large sums of money - perhaps as much as a half-million dollars during his own lifetime. A framed color lithograph after J.W. Audubon, titled YELLOW-CROWNED HERON, printed by J. Bien

John james audubon biography and life's work  
John james audubon biography and life's work  
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