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Les Toucans

Les Toucans

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.

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