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Birds print

1736
Origin: London, England
Overall: 17 1/2 x 21 7/8 inches; Plate marks: 15 5/8 x 19 1/4 inches
Black and white line engraving
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1976-97,1
Birds PRINT; black-and-white line engraving. Sets of birds in trees with decorative landscape background. Birds on this plate: 1. The Cock Sky Lark. 2. The hen Beam-bird. 3. The hen white Wagtail. 4. The hen black Cap. 5. The Cock Nightingale. 6. The hen Nightingale. 7. The Cock house Martin. 8. The hen house Martin. 9. The Cock marsh Titmouse. 10. The hen Titlark. 11. The hen Grasshopper Lark.
Label:Appreciated for their beauty and melodic song, birds were valued as pets and were kept indoors in decorative cages during the 18th century. They were taught to sing popular songs of the day. Surviving books explain how instruments like the serinette, a small organ instrument, or small flutes were used to teach birds to mimic a specific pitch. An organ similar to this one was recorded in Governor Dunmore’s losses when he left Virginia in 1765, and it is known that his predecessor, Lord Botetourt, had up to twelve birdcages during his tenure in the Palace.