- The Estate
The male painted bunting (or painted finch as Edwards identified it) is a brilliantly colored bird found in the regions of south-central United States and along the southeastern seaboard and is considered by some to be the most beautiful bird in North America. Though its plumage is bright, this bird is often difficult to see due to its incredibly reticent nature. Edwards' drawing was taken from life and was illustrated and described as plate 130 in volume III of his A Natural History of Birds (1750), using two birds in the collection of Lady Anson's as the basis of his work. According to Edwards, her birds came from la Vera Cruz, in New Spain, by the Honourable Knowles. Mark Catesby included a depiction of the painted bunting plate 44 of volume one of his The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731-1743), but his published work differs from Edwards' original drawing. This piece bears the ink inscription "13" in the upper left corner.