Histoire naturelle des plus beaux oiseaux chanteurs de la zone torride.
Paris, J.E. Gabriel Dufour, 1805 (-1808). Folio (518 x 335mm). pp. iv, 112 (recte 114), with 72 engraved plates printed in colours and finished by hand. Near contemporary red half morocco, spine with gilt lines, ornaments and lettering, marbled sides.
First edition, a large copy of this rare and attractive treatise on tropical and sub-tropical song birds. 'Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot was one of the more discerning ornithologists who gave particular study to female, immature, and seasonal plumage. He was born at Yvelot, France on May 10, 1748; held a small clerical position in Paris during his young manhood, and at the same time devoted himself earnestly to the study of ornithology. But becoming dissatisfied with his slow progress in the scientific world he emigrated with his family, as did many Frenchmen of the time, to the French Colony of the West Indian island of Santo Domingo, here he engaged in business pursuits but continued his interest in birds and collected material on West Indian species. But since he was on the proscribed list of Frenchmen wanted for military duty when the French Revolution was about to break out, he crossed over to the United States and apparently remained here for several years' (Allen. American ornithology before Audubon, p. 550). The fine plates depict tropical weaver birds, finches, and tanagers, along with other song birds. They were engraved by Bouquets from drawings by Prêtre and printed by Langlois, who executed most of the colour-printing of the great French botanical and bird books of the period, such as those of Redouté and Levaillant. Zimmer p. 654; Nissen IVB, 956; Anker 514.
Item nr. 9846
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