Charles N. Mavroyeni’s Hoopoe

This curious plate, depicting a Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops), appeared in several early 20th century books. It’s by a photographer from Athens, Charles N. Mavroyeni, and is captioned as a photograph, but clearly includes much over-painted colour, by an uncredited hand.

Hoopoe

I’m trying to find out more about Mavroyeni — not least his date of death, to determine the copyright status of his work, and thus whether it can be used in Wikipedia.

I’ve compiled what little information I can find about Mavroyeni, into an item on Wikidata (a sister project of Wikipedia, that hosts linked, open data).

As well as ornithological subjects, he photographed insects and reptiles. One picture, published in the 23 June 1906 issue of ”Country-side: A Wildlife Magazine” (page 96), depicted a beetle in flight — quite something for 1906! Sadly, it is missing from the only scan of the work I can find. Most of his published photographs, that can be found online, are monochrome and not overpainted. In the 1920s he made short films of botanical interest.

According to the same issue of ”Country-side”, he had:

the reputation of the cleverest naturalist photographer in Eastern Europe [and] there can be no doubt that if [his pictures] are not the results of simple photography, they represent the most skilful art

The above version of the Hoopoe plate appears in The Living Animals of the World, Volume 2, by Charles J. Cornish et al., circa 1902. The photographer was credited, as he often was, as “C. N. Mavroyeni”

The image file came from a copy on The Gutenberg Project; a different scan of the same work is available on the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

Another version of the plate is in the two-volume Birds of Our County; and can be seen in the recent Amazon listing of a copy (should anyone want to treat me!).

About Andy Mabbett

Enjoying my freelance career, helping organisations to understand on-line communities, open content, and related issues; often as a Wikimedian (or Wikipedian) in Residence.
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