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John Gould

John Gould Birds in The Wild I High Resolution CC0 Artworks

John Gould (1804-1881) was a naturalist and one of London’s leading ornithologists. He began his career working as a gardener, where he learned about taxidermy and gained knowledge of birds in their natural habitat. At only 23 he became a curator and preserver at the Zoological Society of London. He was never a very good illustrator, and many of his 3000 plates were in fact illustrated by or collaborated on with other artists. Including his wife Elizabeth and the quirky poet Edward Lear. Gould helped Darwin classify finches and mockingbirds, connecting location with speciation. This discovery was the starting point to Darwin’s theory of natural selection. We have digitally enhanced some of his public domain bird paintings. They are free to download and use under the CC0 license.