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John James Audubon (American, 1785-1851), Havell Edition Print, CAROLINA PIGEON OR TURTLE DOVE, No. 4, Plate 17, hand-colored aquatint engraving, from THE BIRDS OF AMERICA first printed edition, 1827-1838. Engraved, printed, and colored by Robert Havell & Son, London. Elephant-folio paper watermarked J WHATMAN TURKEY MILL 1827 top left in reverse. First of two states. (Second state has the title CAROLINA TURTLE DOVE.) Plate: 26 1/2" H x 20 1/2" W. Sheet: 39" H x 26" W. About this bird, Audubon wrote: "I have tried, kind reader, to give you a faithful representation of two as gentle pairs of Turtles as ever cooed their loves in the green woods. I have placed them on a branch of Stuartia, which you see ornamented with a profusion of white blossoms, emblematic of purity and chastity. Look at the female, as she assiduously sits on her eggs, embosomed among the thick foliage, receiving food from the bill of her mate, and listening with delight to his assurances of devoted affection. Nothing is wanting to render the moment as happy as could be desired by any couple on a similar occasion. On the branch above, a love scene is just commencing. The female, still coy and undetermined, seems doubtful of the truth of her lover, and virgin-like resolves to put his sincerity to the test, by delaying the gratification of his wishes. She has reached the extremity of the branch, her wings and tail are already opening, and she will fly off to some more sequestered spot, where, if her lover should follow her with the same assiduous devotion, they will doubtless become as blessed as the pair beneath them. The Dove announces the approach of spring. Nay, she does more:–she forces us to forget the chilling blasts of winter, by the soft and melancholy sound of her cooing. Her heart is already so warmed and so swelled by the ardour of her passion, that it feels as ready to expand as the buds on the trees are, under the genial influence of returning heat… " Provenance: Oak Ridge, TN private collection. Condition: Overall light toning and some mat burns. CONDITION: Overall light toning and some mat burns.