A fantastic, large, original aquarelle by Jean Gabriel Prêtre

Prêtre, J. G.

of the bird, tinamon isabelle ( Tinamus rufescens Temminck), or guazu.

Published 1825
Item ID 75562

excl. VAT

[Paris], Prêtre, 1825. Folio (43.8 x 33.8 cm). Single leaf with original water colour. Framed.

A very rare original watercolour by the great Swiss-born French natural history artist Jean Gabriel Prêtre (1768-1849), arguably one of the best French natural history illustrators of the 19th century. He illustrated several of the most important and beautiful travel, exploration and natural history publications, including works by Ramon de la Sagra, Alcide d'Orbigny, Paul Deshayes, Frédéric Cuvier, Antoine Risso, René Primevère Lesson, André Duméril, Isidore Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and others. Several bird species and a lizard were named after him. Prêtre made this illustration for the Nouveau recueil de planches coloriees d'oiseaux, pour servir de suite et de complement aux planches de Buffon, a massive and amazingly illustrated contribution to ornithology, written by the greatest Dutch ornithologist, Coenraad Jacob Temminck (1778-1858), with some help by one of Europe's foremost private collectors of birds, the botanist, ornithologist, politician and heritage guardian, Baron Guillaume Michel Jérôme Meiffren Laugier (1772-1843). This may be regarded as Temminck's magnum opus in size, in scope and in beauty. The bird illustrated is the tinamon isabelle, or guazu, Latin name Tinamus rufescens Temminck, a bird from South America (Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil). Single printed plates of this work are much in demand. In 2006, three other original drawings, made for the same work, were auctioned by Christies and each fetched a price above € 5000. Signed and dated by the artist. Slight rectangular toning from earlier framing, otherwise fine. Anker, 503; Junk, Rara, p. 72; Landwehr, 196; Nissen IVB, 932; Ronsil, 2892; Sitwell, Fine Bird Books, p. 147; Zimmer, pp. 626-628.

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