I must admit, I love the look of eggs. Even before they started popping up everywhere in the Atlanta showhouses, I collected antique egg prints from ebay and Scotts Antique Market (a monthly antique market in Atlanta).
I prefer the eggs from A Natural History of the Eggs and Nests of British Birds, by the Reverend F.O. Morris (1810-1893). He published several volumes of these works, all of which utilized woodblock engravings of intricately drawn eggs and nests. The engraver was Benjamin Fawcett, one of the most accomplished British woodblock printers of the 19th century. The illustrator was Alexander Francis Lyndon, who captured the minute detail of the eggs and nests of many species on the British Isles. Each engraving was hand colored by a team of women colorists who were closely supervised by Fawcett.
This one is an egg and nest print. I love the look of these too. Some people prefer the look of the eggs alone, but I love the look of the nests in combination with the eggs just as much. I have a large collection of nests and egg prints waiting to be framed. I do not have the perfect place for them in my current house, so this project may wait awhile.
There were a number of editions published through the years, and the numbering system and format changed a bit from edition to edition. Typical of original pages from antique books, the background color can vary dramatically when prints are not from the same book, so the buyer must keep this in mind when purchasing antique prints. Sometimes prints have signs of bookworm or discoloration. When purchasing prints online or on ebay, the pictures usually reveal any imperfections, but the coloring of the paper is often hard to see. Whenever I bought a batch of these antique egg prints, I always expected that a few would not really be usable. Out of the 35 or so that I collected, only 12 were really suitable for framing.
The egg prints look beautiful when framed as a set. The eggs have a simple graphic quality that is quite modern, yet timeless at the same time.