(Doullens 1809 - Paris 1876)
An Eastern or Western Meadowlark (Sturnella magna or Sturnella neglecta), a Common or European Starling (Sturnus Vulgaris) and an Asian Pied Starling (Gracupica contra)
Signed Edouard Travies [partially cut off] in the lower margin.
170 x 100 cm. (6 3/4 x 4 in.)
The common starling, also known as the European starling, was originally native to Eurasia, but today has a vast range that extends across the globe. A medium-sized bird, they inhabit a wide variety of open areas, including city centres, woodlands and reedbeds. The plumage of the common starling varies based upon their breeding season, during which it appears to be iridescent shades of black, purple and green. Outside of the breeding season during the winter months, white spots show more prominently throughout their feathers. Highly social and gregarious, common starlings are often found in flocks which can grow to be larger than one million individuals.
Previously identified as an African pied starling, the bird depicted at the bottom of the sheet appears, based upon its plumage, to be another type of starling. Endemic to South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, the African pied starling is predominately black, except for a white lower belly and undertail. The bird depicted here could be an immature Asian pied starling, which has a similar plumage pattern, although it is not necessarily an exact match, as differences remain in colouration between the two. It remains difficult to determine precisely what bird Traviès was studying when making this drawing, as its pattern and colouring are quite unusual.
Thence by descent until 1988
Jeanson sale, Monaco, Sotheby’s, 16 June 1988, lot 314
Richard J. Schwartz, Upper Nyack, New York and Lyford Cay, Bahamas
Thence by descent until 2017.