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AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800).
AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800).
AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800).
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AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800).

Histoire naturelle des singes et des makis. Paris: Desray, An VIII [1800].

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AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800).
Histoire naturelle des singes et des makis. Paris: Desray, An VIII [1800].
Original edition in a red morocco binding by Bozerian of the first exhaustive monograph exclusively devoted to the description of primates. The plates represent the great apes (chimpanzees and orangutans), as well as recently discovered species such as the Galeopithecus of the Pelew Islands. It was published in 10 parts, the first two appearing in February and July 1798, the remainder between January and October 1799. Audebert's monograph, which divided the monkeys into six families, was the more impressive for employing a colour-printing process in which all the colours were printed from one plate and oil paint was substituted for gouache. In developing this new technique, his experience as a distinguished miniature painter was probably important. His interest had only turned to natural history after a meeting in 1789 with Gigot-d'Orex, a rich amateur collector of specimens. But when Audebert died at the young age of 41, his reputation as an artist-naturalist was assured both by the present work and the later Oiseaux dorés (Paris, 1800-1802). Brunet I, 550 ('ouvrage curieux et d'une exécution magnifique'); Nissen ZBI 156; Wood 206.

Large folio (506 x 330mm). Half-title, 2 anatomical plates printed in black, 61 plates after Audebert, printed in colour and hand-finished (plate 25 with tiny marginal nick, some occasional very light variable spotting). Contemporary straight-grain red morocco signed by Bozérian on the spine, covers with wide gilt borders composed of fillets enclosing floral voluettes, cornerpieces and spine panels tooled with monkeys, gilt edges (joints expertly furbished, extremities lightly rubbed). Provenance: evidence of bookplate removed from front pastedown.
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