Two California Ground Squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi), Study for Plate no. 49 of "The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America"
Watercolor, black ink, graphite, white lead pigment and gouache with selective glazing on paper
Overall: 17 3/8 x 24 in. ( 44.1 x 61 cm )
Inscribed at upper center and continuing clockwise in graphite: "Female."; at right: "The pair of this Species when / it is coming in the contact of / White and dark gives it the / appearance of having being / clipped as it were in regular / irregular order"; at right upper corner: "here is exhibited the c…ting[rubbed] look / between the Tarnias(?) and the Tree Aritor…us[rubbed] / by the Lighter and brighter colour seen / in the rump of the first, and the Species / Spermophilus, and others of the latter / group. -- J.J.A. / Whilst the coarseness of the hair brings / the Spermophilus toward the Aritorius[?] / or real American marmot such as / the ground hog for instance. -- and / the latters are dormant animals / during Winter -; lower right: "Male"; bottom right: "Douglas' Marmot / Spermophilus Douglasii"; at lower left: "New York. May 31st 1841. / J.J.A"; above at lower left: "4 Specimen / from J.K. Townsend all differing / very greatly in size./ from the Columbia River -- / June 22d 1835."
These animals were called marmots by Audubon, but are actually part of the Spermophile genus of ground squirrels. Collected near the Columbia River by a colleague, Audubon drew these spermophiles from preserved specimens. Formerly S-6.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.