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COLLECTING ANTIQUE NEST AND EGG PRINTS

 

There is something so very appealing about bird’s nests, and bird’s eggs, isn’t there?

I am thrilled that I was able to acquire a collection of true antique bird nest and egg prints from England for FrenchGardenHouse- {you, and me.} Each one is more beautiful than the next!

These look amazing framed. They look amazing displayed on a line with clips. They look amazing tucked into your mirrors or displayed on shelves.

Okay, they just look and are amazing. period. {apologies for this slightly wonky photograph!} The colors of these are astounding…lovely whites, creams, greens, aquas, blues, and browns.

And an antique print, especially the hand colored ones, are an inexpensive way to have art, real art.

HISTORY:

During the mid to late 1800’s, Victorians were completely enamored with all things in nature. British, European and American naturalists and ladies and gentlemen of the upper classes avidly collected bird nests and eggs to display in their collections.

Nature lovers wandered the countryside looking for abandoned nests and eggs, so fervent was their passion that selling nests and eggs became quite a lucrative business.

The nests and eggs of many birds now extinct are still present in collections from the Victorian era. At times these collections have played a role in scientific discoveries. DDT was banned after scientists were able to show that the pesticide caused the egg shells of birds of prey to loose their elasticity, for example, by examining egg shells from before the wide spread use of this pesticide.

Caliology is the study of bird nests. Birds build an astounding variety of nests depending on their species and where they live. Each type of bird builds different nests, the shape and materials used are endless!

Oology is the study of bird eggs. The handwritten notes that these Victorian naturalists wrote to accompany their egg specimens are often invaluable to scientists today. Detailed in everything they did, collectors of the era wrote specific notes about habits, exactly where they found the eggs {street names and all!}, giving scientists a way to understand how bird nesting and migration behaviors changed in the last century.

So great was the admiration and passion for collecting the most rare eggs and nests, that collectors went to great lengths to capture that one special specimen! As you can imagine, collecting bird nests or eggs was a labor intensive hobby.

An 19th century ornithologist {and a U.S. army major} supposedly braved enemy fire to take a rare bird egg from a nest, holding it in his mouth while he climbed down to safety. He had to have his men remove one of his teeth later, as the egg was stuck in his mouth.

While egg collecting is now illegal for us citizen naturalists, accredited scientists can still obtain permits to gather specimens for study.

Luckily, collecting eggs and nests in the form of fine quality prints is not illegal, and FrenchGardenHouse makes it quite easy to do so!

Antique EGG Prints

PRINTS:

Beautiful and extensive Bird Nest and Egg books were printed in the mid to late 19th century. These were used to identify each nest and/or egg in exceptional detail.

Most were hand colored, making each one a work of art. Some of the most beloved and collected prints are by Reverend Francis Orpen Morris and Henry Seebohm.

Antique NEST Prints

Reverend Francis Orpen Morris was a popular writer on birds and natural history. His book A History of British Birds was a huge success in Britain. Printed in the small village of Driffield, the book was shipped to London book sellers in a tea chest. Beautifully engraved, each page was hand colored by a special team of artists under the strict scrutiny of the reverend’s wife. 

Antique NEST Prints

Henry Seebohm was a noted British botanist, born in Yorkshire, England. An oologist and ornithologist who travelled widely for his interests. Henry had an interest in natural history at a very early age, his true passion was ornithology. Making his fortune in steel manufacturing enabled him to travel and study birds and collect their eggs. His lithographs of eggs are considered amongst the best, highly accurate and detailed.

 

LOOK FOR:

  1. Original. Look for original prints, either hand colored engravings, or the high quality lithographs of the late 1800’s.  These were most often book plates, from the most gorgeous natural books published in the era.
  2. Condition. Prints should be in good condition. Because of the age of these prints, and because they were often book plates, there may be “foxing” on the paper, most likely the margins. This doesn’t detract from the print, you can also cover this with a mat.
  3. Reputable dealer. Buy your prints from someone you trust. {hoping it’s me!} There are a lot of “copied” prints around, you want the real deal. Engraved or lithographed, with gorgeous color either hand painted with water colors, or with clear, crisp and lush coloration that only antique lithographs will have.

DON”T FORGET TO ENTER OUR READER APPRECIATION GIVE-AWAY Sponsored by Kristy Woodson Harvey, amazing author of Slightly South of Simple.

SEE OUR BIRD AND NEST PRINTS HERE

A collection of bird and  nest prints are such a charming way to bring nature inside. These prints look especially stunning when you frame 4, 6, or more.  The frames do not have to be expensive to create an exceptional group to hand over your settee, in your dining room, hallway, or anywhere where you want to introduce a fresh, outdoor accent.

 

DO YOU LOVE BIRDS, NESTS, AND EGGS?

14 Responses to COLLECTING ANTIQUE NEST AND EGG PRINTS

  1. Have used bird nests in my CHRISTMAS tree that I found for years. I so enjoy watching the birds build there nest and sit so patiently on them. Several years had a Robin build a her nest on the down spout of the gutter on my screened porch. Papa bird watched over her so diligently. One day was extremely hot so mama bird took a break to cool off. She apparently stayed gone too long which was upsetting to papa bird. He flew over to the nest, looked down into it and gave a very loud whistle. Mama bird was quick to get back to her eggs and hunkered down for the long haul.

  2. I have a daughter whose eyes are always open for egg prints which work so nicely into French country or farmhouse style.

  3. All of these prints are just beautiful, Lidy! I have many nests I have collected over the years. I keep under a cloche or lidded glass vessels. I try to occasionally splurge on a Limoge egg to place in each. My very favorite seasonal decor!
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Ginger

  4. Nature can not be beat for color. The color of the eggs are amazing. It is a shame that future generations can only see these in antique prints.

  5. I have a series of 18 bird’s sgg prints hung in my foyer and they are really quite stunning! I love all of them for the subtle colors. I also have some wonderful nests that I keep on my desk…..they are gorgeous.
    Thnak you for this feature blog post!

  6. The variety of the eggs and nests is truly amazing! I could never tire of gazing at these beauties. What a blessing these pieces of art/nature/history have been preserved. Thank you, Lidy, for your ever-enriching posts.

  7. Such variety and beauty. I used to bird watch a bit with my grandmother. She had such respect for plants and flowers and animals that we only looked, never touched. To this day I can’t bear to see someone randomly just pull a leaf off a tree. I can imagine the abuse in collectors going after these eggs.

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures each post.

  8. I love and use natural items such as nests, eggs, branches, moss and garden related tools in my decorating.
    Timeless and simple. Thank you for your beautiful post and the chance to win the summer giveaway.

  9. I live in a wooded area, and we feed, water and have birdhouses throughout our property. It is so rewarding to see all the different species. With all the bird songs it’s like living in a aviary, just love it! Thanks for the chance to win another great giveaway. please enter me into the drawing.
    Denise

  10. Very cool prints, reminds me of some ancient egg from 1000’s of years ago. I think they make such a classy look on the walls.
    Maria

  11. I never tire of nests and eggs. There’s just something so natural but also homey about them. 🙂

    Pinning and sharing.

  12. Birds nests have always intrigued me….as I type, I am gazing upon a mama bird and her nest in my hanging plant just outside the window where I sit with my computer. I have always wanted a gallery of these type of prints. Thanks for the inspiration as always Lidy..and thanks for always giving me the opportunity to say I learned something new today!

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