Heade travelled in Brazil from 1863 to 1864, where he painted an extensive series of small works, eventually numbering over forty, depicting hummingbirds. Inspired perhaps by the works of Charles Darwin and Frederic Edwin Church, Heade planned to produce a deluxe book in the 1860s depicting Brazilian hummingbirds in tropical settings, and, to that end, created a series of 40 small pictures called The Gems of Brazil. The book was never published due to financial difficulty and Heade’s
concerns about the quality of the reproductions, however Heade retained his interest in hummingbirds and continued to paint them in combination with orchids and jungle backgrounds through the 1870s.
1) Passion Flowers with Hummingbirds
2) Two Fighting Hummingbirds with Two Orchids, 1875