The Butterflies of North America
Titian Peale’s Lost Manuscript
Titian Peale & Kenneth Haltman (intro.) 2015 256p 8.5 x 11
“The American artist and naturalist Titian Ramsay Peale II (1799–1885) had a passion for butterflies, and throughout his long life he wrote and illustrated an ambitious and comprehensive manuscript. The book, along with a companion volume on caterpillars, was never published, and it resides today in the Rare Book Collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Now Peale’s color plates, lovingly prepared for the printer by the artist more than 100 years ago, will be published for the first time in this beautiful volume. At last, Peale’s life work, equivalent in scope and beauty to Audubon’s Birds of North America, will be available to a wide audience. The book includes a foreword by Ellen V. Futter and text by Kenneth Haltman and David A. Grimaldi that describes the art and science Peale brought to his extraordinary work.”
Like most knowledge gained through science, which comes to us through an ocean of blood, Peale’s descriptions and illustrations of butterflies were made by capturing and killing the object of his curiosity. Peale also served as an explorer of the American West for the U.S. government during a time that America was majorly disrupting if not destroyig the lives of Native people’s throughout the West.
This collection of Peale’s work, though, is extraordinary. The prints are beautiful. What and where is the line for knowledge and elegance? There are no easy answers.