AUDEBERT, Jean Baptiste (1759-1800). Histoire Naturelle des Singes et des Makis. Paris: Desray, An VIII [1798-1799].
2° (513 x 334mm). Half-title. 61 engraved plates by and after Audebert printed in colours by Finot and finished by hand, 2 uncoloured anatomical plates. (Variable spotting throughout.)
AUDEBERT, J.-B. and L.-J.-P. VIEILLOT (1748-1831). Oiseaux Dorés ou à reflets métalliques. I. Histoire naturelle et générale des colibris, oiseaux-mouches, jacamars et promerops. II. Des Grimpéreaux et des Oiseaux de Paradis. Paris: Crapelet for Desray, [1800-]1802.
2 volumes, 2° (513 x 335mm). 2 pp. subscriber's list, half-titles and section titles. 190 fine engraved plates, printed in colours by and after Audebert printed by Langlois, one double-page and folding, many heightened with gold, captions printed in gold. (Plate 66 of the Colibris lacking and plate 65 bound in duplicate in its place; some variable spotting throughout.)
uniformly bound in magnificent contemporary green straight-grained morocco gilt, by L. Staggemeier & Welcher of London, with their ticket to front pastedown of the Singes, sides with a border composed of a foliate scroll roll between a double fillet terminating in rosettes at the corners, spines elaborately gilt with stylized crosses infilled with stipple tools and volutes, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges (extremities rubbed and corners bumped). Provenance: George Savile Foljambe (bookplate).
A LARGE-PAPER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE SINGES, published in 10 parts, the first two 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.
Audebert's Oiseaux Dorés is 'one of the most beautiful books of its era' (Fine Bird Books, 1990, p.15). '[The] colours of the birds and their handsome appearance have evidently been the cause of their selection for inclusion in the book. The plates with the bird portraits are in beautiful colours; in this respect they are among the best colour prints found in ornithology' (Anker). The work was issued in 32 parts over 26 months and is divided into 10 sections or sub-sections, the general title being taken from the half-titles. The plates were etched by Audebert from his own designs and those of 'les plus belles peintres de Paris et de Londres'. Louis Bouquet assisted with the colouring, and Langlois with the printing in oil-colours. The whole process used in the printing of the plates was invented by Audebert. The text is largely by Vieillot who continued the work using Audebert's notes after the latter's death in 1800. Anker 14; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.73; Mengel 93; Nissen IVB 47; Zimmer 17. (3)