BIRD AND FLOWER DRAWINGS -- A collection of 62 original drawings on 42 sheets by at least two artists, in black chalk, watercolour or bodycolour, some on white prepared paper, depicting 44 birds on 31 sheets and 18 flowers on 9 sheets, 47 with identifying inscriptions written in French in an early 17th-century French hand. Most drawn on heavy unwatermarked laid paper, various sizes (from approximately 354 x 357mm to 60 x 60mm), tipped onto leaves (generally 264 x 390mm), several mounted two to four to a page, 18 in new window-mounts. The leaves on which they are mounted are ruled and foliated, the numbers running (with ommissions) from 17 to 117, thus apparently previously forming an album. (Some leaves cut down, some stains, one creased.) Loose, in 19th-century red sheep-backed portfolio (slightly worn). [French School: early 17th-century].
The work of an accomplished French draughtsman and naturalist of the 17th-century, these drawings apparently formed part of an album created soon after the drawings were made. Many of the birds have contemporary identifications, and one sheet has extensive descriptions of six subjects written on the verso. Albums of a similar nature contemporary with the present drawings were compiled by naturalists such as Leonhard Baldner of Strasbourg (an original manuscript of his Rechts natürliche Beschreibung und Abmahlung der Wasservögel, Fischen, [etc.] ... so bey Strassburg in den Wassern seind sold in these rooms in October 1995), and the great French naturalist, Carolus Clusius (Charles de Lécluse), whose 16-volume work on animals and plants survives at Berlin. The flower drawings include many exotic varieties introduced to Europe only in the 16th-century, such as the tulip, iris and narcissus. Other flowers depicted are wild strawberry, purple crocus, marigold, convolvulus, daisy, viola, and rose, and the identified birds include red-legged partridge, fieldfare, greater spotted woodpecker, goldfinch, lapwing, plover, moorhen and corncrake. FRENCH BIRD DRAWINGS OF THIS PERIOD ARE RARE ON THE MARKET. Sold not subject to return. (42)