Robert Havell, Jr. (1793-1878) Havell Terns at the Shore Oil on canvas Canvas size: 25” x 30” London, circa 1830 Provenance: The Family of Robert Havell, Jr. Robert Havell, Jr. was the principal engraver of Audubon's Birds of America, the most significant natural history publication of all time. His aquatint engraving of John James Audubon's Birds of America is now recognized as a significant artistic achievement in its own right and an essential component of the success of Birds of America. During his collaboration with Audubon, Havell drew inspiration from and made creative contributions to the great master of bird painting, creating magnificent works in the style of Audubon. The remarkable energy of the painting paired with the dramatic motion at the center of the canvas make for an arresting scene as a small cluster of Terns stand or hover at the waters edge, preparing to scan the water for a meal. The painting, which features borrowed details from several Birds of America plates, signifies the admiration Havell felt for his revered colleague. Audubon undoubtedly returned his affection, as he named a species of Tern after his friend and engraver.