Rex Brasher’s Birds and Trees of North America is currently on display on the main level of the Burritt Library.
Rex Brasher was an American artist who produced a set of books entitled The Birds and Trees of North America in the 1930’s. Brasher was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1869, and by the age of 16 he started painting birds in their natural surroundings. He traveled to every corner of the North American continent and by 1924, after painting thousands of birds, considered his task done.
Mr. Brasher purchased a farm in Kent, Connecticut in 1911, where he continued to work. When his eyesight failed him, two years before his death in 1960, he stopped painting. Brasher’s work contains 875 painted prints of over 1200 species and subspecies of North American birds. Brasher could not afford to print his work in color, therefore he ordered black and white prints and then, using an airbrush and a stencil, hand colored each plate.
There were 100 sets of 12 volumes of The Birds and Trees of North America produced, including almost 90,000 hand colored reproductions. Burritt library currently exhibits volume 1 out of 12 volumes which are housed at the Special Collections department.