Paris, Desray, 1802.
5 parts gathered in 2 large folio volumes [502 x 338 mm]: I/ (2) ll., X pp., 128, 70 full page numbered plates, 8 pp., 6 full page numbered plates, 28 pp., 9 full page numbered plates; II/ (2) ll., 128 pp., 89 full page numbered plates (numbered 88 since there is a 26 bis), 40 pp., 16 full page numbered plates including one on double page (n°14). A total of 190 plates. A few light minor foxing. Quarter red morocco, flat spine richly decorated, yellow edges. Round mark of a wet glass on the cover of the second volume. Contemporary binding.
First edition illustrated with 190 copper-engravings after Jean-Baptiste Audebert’s drawings, printed in color and enhanced with pure gold according to an original technique finalized by Audebert. Fine Bird Books p. 56; Nissen IVB, 47; Ronsil 103; Wood, p. 206; Zimmer, p. 17; Sander, Illustrierten franz ö sischen Bücher des 18. Jahrhunderts, 58.
One of the 200 very precious deluxe copies printed in large folio format with the captions printed with gold. The ordinary issue, in 4to format, would have been, according to Ronsil, printed in 100 copies.
Published in 32 issues during twenty six months, the work is divided into ten sections.
Jean-Baptiste Audebert (1759-1800) died during the publication of this work, Louis-Pierre Vieillot (1748-1831) got on with his work.
It is one of the most important ornithological publications of the 19th century.
The very beautiful plates represent a large number of new species, “in particular from New Holland”. Audebert has indeed solicited collectors and foreign firms in order to offer the most complete work possible. As he improved the printing and coloring technique, Audebert had also called in the greatest artists of his time.
“It might not be without interest that amateurs will see gathered in one work birds drawn by the most skilful painters from Paris and London. Finally, I owe a part of the rarest and most beautiful Soui-Mangas to the citizen Vieillot and his friend, the doctor Perrin from Bordeaux.” (Introduction).
“Its plates, heightened with gold, and so finished that they are little less than hand-illuminated engravings, make this one of the most beautiful books of its era. It is the gold reflections of the plumage that render the book unique and wonderful” (Fine Bird Books).
“The plates with the bird portraits are in beautiful colours; in this respect they are among the best color prints found in ornithology” Anker 14.
A superb copy of one of the most wonderful books dedicated to birds, wide-margined and preserved in its beautiful contemporary red morocco quarter binding finely decorated.