GOULD, John (1804-1881)

GOULD, John (1804-1881)
was born at Lyme, Dorset, England, on 14 September 1804. Little is known of his childhood; his father was a gardener, and the boy probably had a scanty education. He was employed as a gardener under his father in the royal gardens at Windsor from 1818 to 1824, and he was subsequently a gardener at Ripley Castle in Yorkshire. He left this position in 1827 to become taxidermist to the recently formed Zoological Society. In 1832 he published his first book, A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, and in the same year began the publication of his Birds of Europe in five volumes, completed in 1837. These and subsequent books were published in a very large size, imperial folio, with magnificent coloured plates. Eventually 41 of these volumes were published with about 3000 plates. They appeared in parts at £3 3s. a number, subscribed for in advance, and in spite of the heavy expense of preparing the plates, Gould succeeded in making his ventures pay and in realizing a fortune. He made the sketches of the birds himself, and his wife, formerly Elizabeth Coxon, painted pictures from the sketches and drew them on the stone. She died in 1841 and in later years various artists were employed by Gould to do this part of the work. Immediately Gould had completed his Birds of Europe he began preliminary work on his Birds of Australia, began publishing A Synopsis of the Birds of Australia, and in 1838 went to Australia to investigate what was then a little-known subject. Accompanied by his wife and his able assistant, John Gilbert (q.v.), he arrived in Tasmania in September, spent several months there, and also visited adjacent islands and New South Wales. He sent Gilbert to Western Australia, went himself to Adelaide, and spent about three months on the banks of the Murray, and some time on the south coast and on Kangaroo Island. In August 1839 he again went to New South Wales, explored country near the mouth of the Hunter River, and then followed the river to its source in the Liverpool Ranges. From there he penetrated a considerable distance into the interior, returned to Sydney early in 1840, and sailing for England on 9 April arrived in August 1840. The publication of The Birds of Australia began soon afterwards, and the thirty-sixth and final part appeared in 1848. The parts were bound in seven volumes and the cost to subscribers was £115. A supplementary volume was brought out in 1869. Other works by Gould were A Monograph of the Trochilidae or Humming Birds with 360 plates (1849-61), The Mammals of Australia (1845-63), Handbook to the Birds of Australia (1865), The Birds of Asia (1850-83), The Birds of Great Britain (1862-73), The Birds of New Guinea and the adjacent Papuan Islands (1875-88). Others will be found listed in the British Museum catalogue, and in addition considerably over 200 papers were contributed to scientific journals. For the last five years of his life Gould was in bad health and he died at London on 3 February 1881. He was survived by a son and three daughters. The son, Charles Gould, emigrated to Australia and became geological surveyor of Tasmania. He wrote Mythical Monsters, published in 1886. Final and supplementary volumes of some of Gould's works were completed and published by R. Bowdler Sharp. Gould was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1843. In 1909 the Gould League of Bird Lovers was founded in Australia. Thirty years later it had a membership of 250,000, largely school children.
Gould was a combination of born naturalist and shrewd business man. He had great industry and though he had the assistance of able helpers such as his wife, John Gilbert, and his faithful secretary E. C. Prince, he did an immense amount of work himself. Somewhat brusque in manner he had a kindly disposition, much courage and great organizing powers. Sixty years after his death his works were as much sought after as when they were published.
The Zoologist, Third Series, vol. V, p. 109; Nature, vol. XXIII, p. 361; Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, vol. XXXIII, p. XVII; A. H. Chisholm, Strange New World; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography; C. Barrett, The Bird Man. For an account of Mrs Gould and her relations, see article by A. H. Chisholm in The Emu, April 1941, and for a remarkable and interesting collection of papers on Gould and his associates the "Gould Commemorative Issue" of The Emu for October 1938. Reference should also be made to Chisholm's paper on "Gould's Australian Prospectus" in The Emu, vol. XLII, p. 74, which has a Bibliography of papers in The Emu and Victorian Naturalist between 1938 and 1942.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • GOULD, JOHN —    eminent ornithologist, born at Lyme Regis, Devonshire; his works are entitled A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, The Birds of Europe, The Birds of Australia, The Birds of Asia, The Birds of Great Britain, and Humming Birds, of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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  • Gould, John — ▪ British ornithologist born Sept. 14, 1804, Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, Eng. died Feb. 3, 1881, London       English ornithologist whose large, lavishly illustrated volumes on birds commanded ever mounting prices among bibliophiles.       Gould… …   Universalium

  • John Gould — John Gould. John Gould (14 de septiembre de 1804 – 3 de febrero de 1881), fue un naturalista y ornitólogo inglés. La Gould League en Australia lleva su nombre en honor a sus contribuciones a la ornitología. Su identificación de los pinzones de… …   Wikipedia Español

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  • John gilbert (1812-1845) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir John Gilbert. John Gilbert est un naturaliste et un explorateur britannique, né en 1812 et mort le 28 juin 1845. Gilbert est taxidermiste à la Société zoologique de Londres. Il y rencontre John Gould (1804 1881) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • 1804 — Portal Geschichte | Portal Biografien | Aktuelle Ereignisse | Jahreskalender ◄ | 18. Jahrhundert | 19. Jahrhundert | 20. Jahrhundert | ► ◄ | 1770er | 1780er | 1790er | 1800er | 1810er | 1820er | 1830er | ► ◄◄ | ◄ | 1800 | 1801 | 1802 | 18 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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