John Gould was an English ornithologist who also had a keen interest in art. Over the course of his life, he published numerous monographs on birds, specifically from Australia, with illustrations that he produced with the help of his wife, Elizabeth Gould.
John Gould was born in Lyme Regis in 1804, a coastal town in western England. In 1818, Gould's father became the foreman of the Royal Gardens of Windsor, where the young John Gould trained as a gardener and became an expert in taxidermy. To capitalize on his skill, Gould opened up a taxidermy shop in London in 1824, and later became the first Curator and Preserver at the museum of the Zoological Society of London.
Gould's first ornithological book was A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, published in 1832. After a shipment of previously undocumented birds from the Himalayas arrived at the Zoological Society of London, Gould teamed up with Nicholas Aylward Vigors to publish a book on the birds. His wife Elizabeth provided the illustrations from Gould's rough sketches. In the next seven years, Gould published another four books, including Birds of Europe. After reaching commercial success from his book, Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, Gould moved to Australia to work on the Birds of Australia.
Gould is remembered as a pioneer of modern ornithology and a brilliant artist in the league of John James Audubon.