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Francois Levaillant

Francois Levaillant

Francois Le Vaillant was a French ornithologist, explorer, collector. Born in Paramaribo (1753-November 22, 1824), the capital of Dutch Guiana (Surinam), the son of the a consul. When his father returned to Europe, in 1763, he studied natural history at Metz.
Intrepid traveller, pioneering naturalist and famous author – François Levaillant (1753-1824) was a celebrity in his own lifetime. His sumptuous bird books, highly sought after collectors’ items, were published in a golden age of French natural history book production.Art in Limted Editions bv is fortunate to have access to the original hand-colored prints. The plates are reproduced to the highest standards at actual size of the originals, on acid-free paper. A limited number have been produced and are available as separate prints, but there also complete sets of 123 prints for sale In special made Solander Boxes. The prints are of exceptional beauty and quality, and are a rare opportunity to obtain reproductions of Levaillant plates at an affordable price. Whilst the prints, if framed, would enhance any setting, they would be particularly appropriate for corporate projects.

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<table> <tbody> <tr> <td width="520"><span style="font-size: large; font-family: 'book antiqua', palatino;"> On his return from Africa, he published Voyage dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique (1790, 2 vols.), and Second voyage dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique (1796, 3 vols.), both of which were translated into several languages. He also published Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d'Afrique (1796-1808, 6 vols.) with drawings by Jacques Barraband, Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis (1801-06), Histoire naturelle des cotingas et des todiers (1804) and Histoire naturelle des calaos (1804). Over 2,000 bird skins were sent to Jacob Temminck, who had financed the expedition, and these were later studied by his son Coenraad Jacob Temminck and included in the collection of the museum at Leiden. Le Vaillant's six-volume Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d'Afrique (1796-1808) is noted for its excellent style of writing and attractive colored plates. He discovered some fifty new species of African birds and wrote, in a detailed and lively manner, the only substantial account of African birds of the period. The Hill Collection includes a beautiful copy of this valuable work, one that is particularly notable because it once was part of the personal collection of John James Audubon. Le Vaillant's fame as an ornithologist rests principally on the monumental six-volume Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d''Afrique, issued in 51 parts between 1799 and 1808. Each issue included six plates engraved from artwork by the artist Jn. Lebrecht Reinold, working from mounted specimens or Le Vaillant's original sketches. The engravings were available in different formats, black and white or colour, using the new technique of stipple engraving which allowed great subtlety of watercolour-like hues. After the success of the Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d''Afrique, Le Vaillant began working on a number of other books of ornithology in collaboration with several other artists including the well-known flower and bird painter Jacques Barraband. The finest of these are the Histoire naturelle des perroquets, 1801-1805) in two volumes with 145 plates, and the Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des rolliers, suivie de celle des toucans et des barbus (1801-1806) in two volumes with 114 plates. These spectacular works feature colourful and exotic species drawn from Le Vaillant's own collections and those of others. He was a pioneering field naturalist with valuable insights on matters such as the existence of ecological counterparts between Europe and Africa, reverse sexual dimorphism in birds of prey and the importance of simple field experiments. As Rookmaker et al (2004) state, François Le Vaillant can deservedly be regarded as the founder of African ornithology. The Histoire naturelle des perroquets is one of the finest works of its kind ever published. The original artwork for the 145 stipple-engraved plates was done by Jacques Barraband, a well-known bird and flower painter. Barraband's bird paintings are very lifelike, suggesting that he may have worked from living specimens as well as mounted ones. </span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table>
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