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Gallery: Who Really Painted These Resplendent Quetzals?

The Resplendent Quetzal account from A Monograph of the Trogonidae, or Family of Trogons. The left side depicts female and male quetzals; the right side contains text about this species.
The artist Elizabeth Gould painted these Resplendent Quetzals in the 1830s for a monograph published by her husband, John Gould. Elizabeth signed the plate “J&E Gould,” just visible at the left end of the branch (and in inset, lower right).

From the Spring 2023 issue of Living Bird magazine. Subscribe now.

Artist Elizabeth Gould created 36 lithographic plates for the book A Monograph of the Trogonidae, or Family of Trogons, which was published between 1835 and 1838. Elizabeth worked with her husband John Gould, a well-known naturalist and taxidermist, on the depictions of each species in the book. She was a skilled artist who taught herself the printmaking technique of lithography, and John often revised her work.

Despite being the artist behind the masterful artwork in this book (including this stunning, oversized portrait of a pair of Resplendent Quetzals, the only foldout in the publication), Elizabeth was rarely given credit for her contributions. Prints were often stamped with “J&E Gould,” and when she signed them by hand (just visible at the leftmost edge of the branch—see inset in the image above), she stayed true to that signature.

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