LEVAILLANT, Franois (1753-1824). Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des rolliers, suivie de celle des toucans et des barbus. Paris: chez Denn le jeune, Perlet, -1806.
2 volumes, 2° (516 x 348 mm). Half-titles, 114 etched plates after Jaques Barraband by Bouquet, Grémilliet, and Pre, most printed in colors by Langlois and Rousset, all finished by hand, 2 folding. (Plates in vol. I dampstained, at times severely, color offsetting onto a few text leaves, one folding plate torn along fold, some plates in vol. II lightly browned or spotted, some offsetting onto text, Latin names penciled onto plates, half-titles with note erased, pp. 107/108 Vol. I with small marginal hole.) Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, spines in 6 compartments with 5 raised bands, green morocco lettering-piece gilt in one (worn, small library label on foot of spine Vol. I, lacking compartment at foot of spine Vol. II, hinges reinforced). Provenance: Sir Giles Loder Bt. (1914-1999) British book collector (sold Christie's London 2 June 1999, lot 58).
FIRST EDITION, originally published in 19 parts, of the work regarded by Ronsil as unequalled in French ornithology. The spectacular plates of exotic birds owe much to the special gifts of Jacques Barraband (1767-1809) who turned to book illustration after training as a draughtsman at the Gobelins tapestry factory and while also working as a ceramic artist, supplying drawings to the Sévres factory in 1806. 5 plates in Vol. II before letters (see Anker). Anker 304; Ayer/Zimmer p. 393; Fine Bird Books p. 90 (***); Nissen IVB 559; Ronsil 1780; Wood p. 434.