John James Audubon (1785-1851) was born in the French colony of Santa Domingo (later known as Haiti). Early on, Audubon became passionately interested in nature, avoiding whenever possible the rigors of the French educational system by wandering in the countryside sketching and collecting. He was sent by his father to his plantation Mill Grove in Pennsylvania, and there he pursued his love of nature and collecting in a bountiful environment, to the detriment of the business of running his father’s plantation.
Audubon worked on the monumental "Birds of America" from 1827-1838, illustrating and editing one of the largest and most expensive bird books in the world. He used the finest of specimens, and all types of media, including: oil crayon, pastel watercolors, ink and gouache to stunning effect. His genius was in his intimate knowledge of the world of birds and their surroundings gained from a lifetime of observation in the field, and the ability to translate this vision into a publication that has never been equaled in the world of ornithology.