There is, it is true, a smoothness and finish about them not often seen elsewhere; but, as though to avoid the exaggerations of Audubon, Gould usually adopted the tamest of attitudes in which to represent his subjects, whereby expression as well as vivacity is wanting.
This would be so if people acted independently and without guidance, but actually they are sometimes misled by published advice and movements in the market intended to deceive them, and, even when they are not, they watch each other's attitudes and tend to act as a crowd.
By the patient study of the behaviour of precocious young birds, such as chicks, pheasants, ducklings and moorhens, it can be readily ascertained that such modes of activity as running, swimming, diving, preening the down, scratching the ground, pecking at small objects, with the characteristic attitudes expressive of fear and anger, are so far instinctive as to be definite on their first occurrence - they do not require to be learnt.
The first is the "Adam and Eve" dated 1507, in which both attitudes and proportions are as carefully calculated, though on a somewhat different scheme, as in the engraving of 1504.
Something of the imposing unity of his work was also, no doubt, due to an extraordinary power of memory, which enabled Millet to paint (like Horace Vernet) without a model; he could recall with precision the smallest details of attitudes or gestures which he proposed to represent.