Item 827 - Great Auk

Open original Digital object

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Great Auk

General material designation

Parallel title

Great Auk

Other title information

Pinguinus impennis

Title statements of responsibility

Charl. Collins Fect. 1738;

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Caption title.
  • Parallel titles and other title information: Title from Mousley: Alca impennis

Level of description


Reference code

CA RBD MSG BW002-827

Edition area

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1738 (Creation)
    Collins, Charles

Physical description area

Physical description

1 watercolour painting ; 56 x 39 cm + 1 leaf

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Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Charles Collins was an Irish painter, known for his portraits of animals and still-lifes. He achieved success in England painting exotic birds, game, dogs and dead game still-lifes. He was the painter for Robert Furber’s ‘Twelve Months of Fruit’ (1732). In 1736 he published in collaboration with John Lee a set of 12 large engravings, coloured by hand, of British birds in landscape and garden settings, entitled Icones avium cum nominibus anglicis. He then came to the attention of Taylor White, who engaged him to paint birds from his and others’ collections until 1743. Collins died in 1744, when he was described as ‘Bird Painter to the Royal Society.’

Custodial history

Scope and content

Drawing of a Great Auk from a 18th century specimen [modern geographical distribution: now believed to be extinct].

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General note

Manuscript note on front of drawing: Great Auk (Alca impennis) Charl. Collins Fect. 1738;

General note

Manuscript note on back of drawing: The Penguin W. 322

General note

Scientific name: Pinguinus impennis

Accompanying material

With manuscript text on accompanying leaf.

Accompanying material

Transcription of manuscript note on accompanying leaf: Aves Anseres Alca
3 A. rostro compresso.- ancipiti
sulcato, macula ovata utrinque
ante oculos. L.N.S. [sic] p. 130
Habitat in Europa arctica
The Penguin.
Will. p. 322
No. 11.

Accompanying material

Translation of manuscript note on accompanying leaf: Aves Anseres Alca
3 A. with a compressed, double-edged, grooved beak,
and an egg-shaped patch on either side [of the face]
in front of the eyes. L.N.S. [sic] p. 130
It lives in arctic Europe.
The Penguin.
Will. p. 322
No. 11.

Alternative identifier(s)

Volume number

Birds Volume 15, Painting 11

Standard number area

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Physical storage

  • Volume: Birds v.15 (of 16)