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Natural History Art, Birds, Barraband, Pignancoin Toucan, Paris, Antique Print, c. 1806

$1,800

Jacques Barraband (1767-1809) (after)
Peree (engraver)
François Levaillant (1753-1824) (editor)
Langlois and Rousseau (printers)
Le Pignancoin, [Plate] No. 7
[Channel-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Vitellinus)]
From Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des Rolliers, suive de celle des Toucans et des Barbus
[Natural History of the Birds of Paradise and of the Rollers, followed by that of the Toucans and the Barbets]

Denne and Perlet, Paris [1801]-1806
Stipple engraving, color printed and finished by hand
18.5 x 13 inches overall
$1,800

Natural history study of a channel-billed toucan, with white throat, a yellow-orange central breast fading to white, the lower breast with a sharp contrasting band of red.  It has a black bill with blue eye patch and base. Levaillant had described this species as Le Pignancoin, now an antiquated term.

Product description continues below.

Description

Jacques Barraband was the son of a weaver at the Aubusson tapestry factory, and a pupil of the flower painter Joseph Malaine (1745-1809). He also worked for the Gobelin Factory and the porcelain factory of Sèvres. His most important works were the original watercolors for Francois Levaillant’s major folio sets on parrrots, toucans, and other tropical birds. Barraband is considered the foremost ornithological artist in Napoleonic France, admired for his ability to bring his subjects to life through conveying the texture and vivid colors of the birds’ feathers. His simple renditions follow a standard format of the alert bird, shown mostly from the side profile, perched on a section of tree branch.

François Levaillant (1753-1824) was a naturalist, the son of the French consul to Dutch Guyana. Sponsored by a patron to find specimens for his collector’s cabinet, Levaillant made a six-month expedition to Africa, landing at the Cape of Good Hope in 1781, and returning to France in 1784. In Africa, he observed the habits of birds and amassed a major collection of specimens, also discovering some 50 new species. This became the basis of his monumental six-volume work Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux d’Afrique, Paris: [1796-] 1799-1808. This work was the only substantial bird study published on Africa during that period, containing over 300 illustrations, and still admired today for the quality of the prints and lively style of writing. In the first decade of the 19th Century, Levaillant published three folio sets of tropical bird studies based on the magnificent original watercolors by Jacques Barraband (1767-1809): Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux d’Afrique, Paris: [1796-] 1799-1808.  This work was the only substantial bird study published on Africa during that period, containing over 300 illustrations, and still admired today for the quality of the prints and lively style of writing.  In the first decade of the 19th Century, Levaillant published three folio sets of tropical bird studies based on the magnificent original watercolors by Jacques Barraband (1767-1809):  Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets. Paris: 1801-1805; Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des Rolliers, suive de celle des Toucans et des Barbus,  Paris: [1801-] 1806 and  Histoire Naturelle des Promérops, et des Guêpiers, Paris: [1806]- 1807-[1816?].  These are considered among the greatest colorplate ornithological studies ever done.

Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified with only minor remaining light toning, wear, handling. Title and credits trimmed from lower margin, no longer present.

References:

Anker, Jean. Bird Books and Bird Art. 1938. New York: Martino, 1990. 304.

Sitwell, Sacheverell. Fine Bird Books, 1700-1900. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990. p.90.

Nissen, Claus. Die Illustrierten Vogelbucher: ihre Geschichte und Bibliographie. Stuttgart: 1976. 559.

“Hill Collection–18th c. French authors & artists.” Cornell University Libraries. 10 June 1999. http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/ornithology/guide/hillguide10.htm (8 March 2004). (Levaillant)

Redden, David, et al. The Library of H. Bradley Martin: Magnificent Color-Plate Ornithology. New York: Sotheby’s, 1989. Pls. 141-142. (Levaillant)

Wood, Casey A. (ed.) An Introduction to the Literature of Vertebrate Zoology Based Chiefly on the Titles in the Blacker Library of Zoology, the Emma Shearer Wood Library of Ornithology, the Bibliotheca Osleriana, and Other Libraries of McGill University, Montreal. London: Humphry Milford, Oxford University Press, 1931. p.434.

Zimmer, John Todd. Catalogue of the Edward E. Ayer Ornithological Library. Zoological Series, Publ. 239-240, Vol. 16. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1926. p.393.