The Birdman’s Wife is as gorgeously rendered as some of the stunning lithographs by artist Elizabeth Gould. It’s the story of a significant but little-known historical figure, a woman previously overshadowed by her better-known husband, John Gould, who was often known as Australia’s first ornithologist or the ‘Bird Man’.
Around the time Charles Darwin was making earth-shattering discoveries, John Gould was working in his London studio, as a taxidermist and a curator at the London Zoological Society and becoming celebrated for his cataloging of new species, mainly birds. His wife Elizabeth Gould worked as his artist, rendering new species in finely crafted detail in lithograph.
The novel shows how this talented woman became much more than an appendage to her husband. She was an accomplished artist in her own right and her ambitious husband needed her at his side.
Check out some of the beautiful lithographs drawn by Elizabeth Gould and get a glimpse into the woman who created them in The Birdman’s Wife by Melissa Ashley
Want more? Click here to watch our live interview with Melissa Ashley as she shows us the authentic lithographs and letters at the The State Library of NSW.