It Passes Quickly as a Thought – Flight, Painting and Extinction in Audubon’s Life and Work
Audubon painted and wrote about three North American bird species that are now extinct: the passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet and the ivory-billed woodpecker. This talk explores Audubon’s encounters with the birds, how he wrote about and painted them, and the way in which his images and words have come to stand in for these lost species. If we think we know what a sky darkened by countless thousands of passenger pigeons might look like, it is thanks to Audubon.
This is part of the 2012 University of Bristol Autumn Art Lecture series – run in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas – which look at the art of the book, from the physical beauty that books can convey in the illuminated manuscript, the natural history publication and the work of William Morris, through the commercial beauty of Penguin covers, to graphic novels and how artists work with books today. For details of all events click here.
Tim Dee graduated from Cambridge, then studied Hungarian poetry at the University of Budapest. He has worked as a BBC radio producer for twenty years and divides his life between Bristol and Cambridge. A birdwatcher since the age of three, he worked as a research assistant for the International Council for Bird Preservation. His memoir of his life as a birdwatcher, The Running Sky: A Birdwatching Life, was published in 2009. He also co-edited the anthology The Poetry of Birds (2009) with Simon Armitage.
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