Gould, John (Born Sept. 14, 1804, Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England. Died Feb. 3, 1881, London) was an English ornithologist whose large, lavishly illustrated volumes on birds command ever-mounting prices among collectors.
Gould learned taxidermy at Windsor Castle, where his father was foreman of gardeners. In 1827 he became taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London.
The arrival in 1830 of a collection of exotic bird skins from the Himalayas enabled him to produce the first of many folio volumes, A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains (1831-32).
Gould's sketches were transferred to the lithographer's stone by his wife, Elizabeth Coxon, whose artistic talents were to enhance many of his works until her death in 1841. The five-volume Birds of Europe (1832-37) and Monograph of the Ramphastidae (Toucans) (1834) were so successful that the Goulds were able to spend two years (1838-40) in Australia, where they made a large collection of birds and mammals. The collection resulted in Gould's most famous work, The Birds of Australia, 7 vol. (1840-48; supplements 1851-69), and in Mammals of Australia, 3 vol. (1845-63).
He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1843. Gould's lifetime work comprised more than 40 volumes, with more than 3,000 coloured plates. His many scientific papers, mostly devoted to descriptions of new species, established his professional reputation, but he is best known today for his folios.
Following his death in 1881, Henry Sotheran Limited, already involved in publishing some of Gould's later works, bought his entire estate which included a number of black and white lithographs with the pattern plates used for the hand-colouring. This put Henry Sotheran in the unique position of carrying on the hand-colouring of the original 19th century lithographs according to Gould's exacting standards.
Over a century after Henry Sotheran's felicitous acquisition, they remain the world's leading dealers in Gould's magnificent original hand-coloured lithographs.
The Gould League, established in Australia in 1909, encourages an interest in natural history and conservation among young people.