This illustration depicts a Merlin perched on a branch and is notable for being a quintessential example of the quality of illustrations found in Morris’ A History of British Birds. Instead of having an anatomical sketch of the bird for each chapter, Morris includes illustrations that show the bird active. The Merlin in this illustration is perched on a branch, which gives the viewer the context that this bird is in nature, but the focus is on the bird rather than the environment. The coloration and detail given to the bird’s feathers, fallons, and facial expression contribute to the hyperrealistic quality of these images. Although not every member of the species appears exactly like the one in the illustration, these depictions provide basic, identifiable qualities of the species.
This illustration of a Blue Tit is unique among the other illustrations in this book because of the position of the bird. It is hanging upside down off a branch, a typical feeding posture of this species. Due to this particular position, it is difficult for the viewer to get an idea of the detail and design of the wings since only a sliver can be seen.
The illustration accompanying the chapter on the Egyptian Vulture is notable because it includes not one, but two birds. These birds depicted vary in color and facial features but are from the same species. Morris plausibly decided to include both of them to show the nuances within this species, so not to be confused as two separate species. Another interesting facet of this illustration is the manner in which the artist decided to position these birds. The white bird is closer to the center and dominates the foreground, whereas the brown one is overshadowed and recedes to the background. Thus, the overlapping perspective in which these birds were drawn is interesting because instead of placing them side by side the artist makes them occupy the same space. One reason for this artistic choice might have been because the birds were drawn from observation and this interaction between the two birds is more realistic. Regardless, the positioning of the birds in this illustration is notable for its uniqueness.