Set of 3 Hand-Colored Butterfly Prints
Purple Emperor, Small Tortoise Shell, Red & White Admiral 
William Home Lizars (Edinburgh, Scotland, 1788-1859)
Circa 1830's 
3 x 3-1/4 inches (11-5/8 x 9-1/8 w/frame)

 

A print-maker and engraver of exceptional prestige. 

 

His father was a publisher and an engraver of portraits as well as book illustrations. Lizars was first apprenticed to his father, from whom he learned engraving, and then entered as a student in the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh. 

 

In 1812, on the death of his father, Lizars had to carry on the business of engraving and copperplate printing in order to support his mother and family.  In October 1826, Lizars met J. J. Audubon in Edinburgh while he had his portfolio in hand. Thus began an intense period when Lizars helped Audubon meet Edinburgh luminaries likely to be useful to him. Lizars had a celebrated portrait of Audubon painted (it is now in the White House), by John Syme, in his wolfskin coat. Lizars continued his introductions of Audubon and in late November, took him to meet the leading phrenologist of the day, George Combe, as well as other noted practitioners. 

 

Audubon came to an agreement to have Lizars publish "Audubon's Birds of America." And after a promising start, the collaboration did not go well. Consequently, Audubon moved the production to London. The work was completed by the Havell family.

 

In the early 1830's he is listed as operating from 3 St James Square, in Edinburgh, the center for printers at that time. He was still living there at the end of his life. He died in Edinburgh on 30 March 1859, leaving a widow and family. 

 

Lizars perfected a method of etching which performed the functions of wood-engraving, for illustration of books.

 

His works of art can be found at Royal Academy, London; Scottish National Gallery, Founding member Royal Scottish Academy, etc

3 Hand-Colored Prints: Purple Emperor, Small Tortoise Shell, Red & White Admiral