This beautiful originally hand-colored engraving is from Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon’s Planches pour L’Abrege d’Histoire Naturelle. It was published by Aux Deux-Ponts Chez Sanson et Compagnie in 1790.
Histoire Naturelle was one of the most expansive works done in the field of natural history and sparked European interest in the field. Buffon’s work became one of the most informative sources as far as the visual appearance of animals, and was highly understandable for a wide audience. Buffon described his work and love for natural history by stating that, “Natural history embraces all the objects the universe presents to us. This prodigious multitude of quadrupeds, birds, fish, insects, plants, minerals, etc., offers to the curiosity of the human mind a vast spectacle, of which the whole is so great that the details are inexhaustible.”