John Gould (1804-1871) was Britain's most prolific and also it's most popular author of bird books. He has been described as "the greatest figure in bird illustration after Audubon." Gould created a formidable catalog: seventeen separate works comprising a total of over 2500 hand colored plates. The Birds of Great Britain, described as "Gould's pride and joy" was produced between 1862 and 1873 in five folio volumes, 367 hand colored plates, illustrations by J. Gould, J. Wolf, H.C. Richter and W. Hart. 750 complete copies of the work were produced and to highlight the enormous amount of work that it took to produce a volume such as the Birds of Great Britain, Gould stated: "Many of the public are quite unaware how the colouring of these large plates is accomplished; and not a few believe that they are produced by some mechanical process or by chromolithogrphy. This, however is not the case; every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were coloured by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought."