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This pairing of first edition bird engravings is from Francois Levaillant’s Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux d’Afrique. The work was published in Paris by J.J. Fuchs in 1799. We are offering the engraving with original hand-coloring as well as the black and white engraving as a pair.
One engraving was printed in color and finished by hand. C. M. Fessard and J. L. Peree after J. L. Reinold completed the coloring. The printer for the work, L’Imprimerie de Langlios, also completed the famed Redoute’s Les Roses.
Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux d’Afrique is considered “by far the most important ornithological work on Africa published up to this period” (Mendelssohn). Levaillant’s work “is one of the first works of the naturalists who travelled in order to see and study the birds in their proper environment” (Fine Bird Books, p. 13). “It gives a comprehensive account of the birds of South Africa , based on Levaillant’s personal experiences and the collections he made during his journeys in that region. The style of the text is lively, and it gives descriptions not only of the names of the birds, but also of their habits and habitats” (Anker).