In the early 1980s, Master Wildlife Artist, John a. Ruthven was researching famous bird artist, John James Audubon's Cincinnati connection.
Audubon lived in Cincinnati briefly in 1820 serving as the first employee of the Western Museum Society, the predecessor to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science.
Ruthven discovered that Audubon had employed Cincinnatian Joseph R. Mason to paint floral backgrounds for Audubon's bird paintings that would become plates in his monumental book, "Birds of America."
While in Cincinnati, Audubon painted five of the birds; Cedar Waxwings, Sharp Shinned Hawk, Least Bittern, Henslow Sparrow, and Cliff Swallows.
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