This original aquatint is Plate 51 from the double-elephant folio Havell edition of Audubon’s great work on American ornithology, which is the most important ornithological work produced in America. The complete work was produced in less than 200 copies. Audubon traveled throughout the U.S. and recorded 435 life-size images of every native bird in the country, depicting them in natural poses in their native habitats. This engraving depicts a female Red-tailed Hawk carrying a recently captured hare in her talons, while a male attacks in order to steal the meal. This is Variant 1, engraved, printed and hand colored by Robert Havell. The papermaker's watermark "J. Whatman Turkey Mill" is along the right side of the sheet at top. The full sheet measures 25-3/8 x 38-3/8".
References: Low, pp. 58-59.
Excellent impression and color with a few tears that have been expertly and almost invisibly repaired, all of which are confined to the blank margins.