This originally hand-colored, folio bird engraving is from Thomas Pennant’s The British Zoology or Zoologia Britannica. This is from the German edition published in Ausburg by Johann Jacob Haid & Sohn between 1771 and 1778. The drawings were by P. Paillou, G. Edwards, et. al. and the original etchings by P. Mazell. This edition featured the plates re-engraved by Haid with vibrant original hand-coloring.
Thomas Pennant was a leading naturalist in England in the 18th century. He was a fellow of the Royal Society and counted amongst his confidants Carl Linnaeus and Sir Joseph Banks. Pennant’s work was noted as the first to publish color illustrations of birds in a work that attempted to describe all of the British species, many life-size. The mammals included in the work was also a rare occurance for an 18th century work.
“The first coloured illustrations of birds in a book which attempted to list and portray all of the British species, many of them life-size. Peter Paillou contributed most of the designs and coloured the prints, the colour being extended to the trees, branches and foregrounds. These really splendid folio plates cost Pennant so much that the British charity school at Clerkenwell Green, for which the profits of the book were intended, came off rather badly, as did Pennant himself. Nevertheless they showed what could be done in the production of good, large pictures of British birds.” (Jackson, Etchings, p.106)