Histoire naturelle des Oiseaux d'Afrique - Levaillant - 1805-1808 - Complete

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LEVAILLANT (François): Natural history of african birds. Paris, Delachaussée

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1805-1808. 6 volumes large in folio (34.5 x 52.5 cm).

XII-129 pp, engravings from 1 to 49; 151 pp, engravings from 50 to 97; 147 pp, engravings from 98 to 150; 104 pp, engravings from 151 to 199; 124 pp, engravings from 200 to 247; 132 pp, engravings from 248 to 300.


Half-calf plum period, smooth back, with belonging to Count Albert de RUTANT, Lorraine scholar. Rubbed headdresses, some rubbing on the backs.

This exemplary has the following particularities:

It is part of the luxury print, published by Delachaussée between 1805 and 1808.


Edition on beautiful vellum paper, it is in folio format, and not in-4 like current editions.

Volumes 1, 2, and 6 have two title pages: that of DELACHAUSSEE, and those of

GIDE Fils, dated 1824. Volumes 4 and 5 have only the title page of Delachaussée, volume 3 only the title page of GIDE fils. This was probably a relisting, a common practice at the time.


It is well complete with the 300 beautiful full-page plates engraved in intaglio, printed in color and enhanced by hand. The boards are usually very fresh, with colors of great beauty. These plates were etched by Claude Fessard, Perée and others, printed in colour by Audebert, Langlois and Perroneau and enhanced by hand at the time of publication. The double plates of the in-4 edition are here in one piece

(Example: plates 144 and 145).

Clear freckles dot the work, mainly grouped on volume 6, and on the title pages, false titles and tables of the other volumes.

We can note as defects:

Plate 111 with a central fold

Plate 138: plate pasted on its page (period modification)

Plates 219, 220, 221, 222: plates mounted in the frame of the page (period modification).

On all the boards, we can count about 65 boards out of 300 with light freckles, in margin or more extensive, without ever altering the colors of the birds.

Some small tears in the margins of the text with clean old restorations, without lack.


Very rare edition. The work of François LEVAILLANT, considered the founder of African ornithology, remains valuable from a scientific point of view. But it is just as important for the exceptional quality of the color illustrations of the birds

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