Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #112 begins on 18 Jan 2024

US Auction #16 begins on 13 Mar 2024

Levaillant (Fran├žois)


Published: Paris, (1799) - 1808

Edition: Quarto edition

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6 volumes, large 4to (342 x 255mm), half title pages, engraved title page vignettes, 300 fine engraved plates of which one is folding and four are double-page and folding, drawn by Johann Friedrich Lebrecht Reinhold (Reinhold) and engraved by Fissart and Perée. Printed in colour and finished by hand. Contemporary full polished calf with gilt and blind borders and inner gild dentelles, spine titled and decorate gilt in panels, light green endpaper and marbled edges, the leather is lightly rubbed along the edges of the spines and at the corners, most of the plates are with tissue guards, occasional light foxing on the tissue guards and on the plates, offsetting on a few of the plates which do not have guards, overall a very good set.

 Paris, J.J. Fuchs (volumes 1-3) and Delachaussee (volumes 4-6), (1799) - 1808

 Mendelssohn (Sydney) South African Bibliography, volume 1, pages 892/3, ‘A most magnificent production, by far the most important ornithological work on Africa published up to this period. According to Swainson's " Birds of Western Africa," Le Vaillant' s drawings “were executed under his own eye by an eminent artist, M. Barraland, but in the first two volumes the illustrations bear the names of Lebrecht Reinhold (Pt.) and Clde. Fessard (Sculp.), and the drawings in the other four volumes are undersigned " Bouquet direx " — " de l'lmprimerie de Langlois." Crichton, who wrote the memoir on Le Vaillant, in " Birds of Western Africa," says that " his drawings are distinguished for their fidelity to nature, as he had seen in their native habitats almost every bird which he describes. . . . His observations on the character and habits of the various species of which he treats are often extremely curious and always interesting." Layard, in his " Birds of South Africa," considered that the work " bore the stamp of incompleteness," but for the period it was written the information afforded was very considerable, and the letterpress is accompanied by three hundred full-page coloured engravings.’

 ‘Sitwell (Sacheverell) Fine Bird Books, London 1953, pages 10, 11 & 90, ‘The next stage will be reached when naturalists,themselves, start off on long journeys. Levaillant is typical of this new development. His Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d'Afrique (1799 – 1808) in six volumes, with its 300 plates printed in colour and retouched by hand, is one of the finest works of the naturalists who travelled in order to see and study the birds in their proper environment.’

'Histoire naturelle des oiseaux d'Afrique was originally issued in 51 loose parts, all except one containing 6 plates and thus comprising 300 in all, these parts were bound into six volumes, each with its own title-page and descriptive text....The engraved plates were all printed by the Imprimerie de Langlois and it is quite clear that only one copper plate was employerd for each of the coloured prints, coloured inks being applied by brush, after the artist's original design, for each impression - a procedure first introduced by Johannes Teyler of Nijmegen as early as 1680.' From  Robinson (A.M.) Bibliographic Notes on Le Vaillant's African Works, pages 144/5 in Francois Levaillant, Traveller in South Africa, published by the Library of Parliament, Cape Town, 1973

  • Overall Condition: Very good
  • Size: Large 4to (342 x 255mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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