LEVAILLANT, François (1753-1824). Histoire naturelle des Promérops, et des Guêpiers. Paris: Denné le jeune, - 1807-[1816?].
3 parts in one volume, 2° (508 x 318mm). Half-title. 83 etched plates, 2 folding, by Guyard fils, Barrière, Bouquet and Grémilliet after Barraband and Auguste, printed in colours by Millevoy, Langlois and others, and finished by hand. (Lacking one preliminary leaf called for by Nissen and Ronsil, a few plate margins shaved affecting imprints or long bird-tails, some light spotting chiefly in part three, plate 19 in part three slightly browned, some spotting and occasional offsetting to text.) Early 19th-century red morocco gilt, covers with double roll-tool and multiple fillet panel, gilt spine, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges (spine faded).
ONE OF LEVAILLANT'S CLASSIC WORKS forming a continuation to Histoire naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis (1801-1806). The present work consists of numbers 20-33 of the 33 livraisons comprising the two books. As Anker notes, 'it appeared in different issues.' In the present copy, plate 3 is omitted in the first part while plate 12 is included, whereas according to Nissen and Ronsil plate 3 is normally included and plate 12 omitted. There are 7 proof plates, titled in manuscript, comprising plate 18 in part one, plates 16 and 20 in part two, and plates 8, 9, 19 and G in part three, the last four plates having overslips in ink. Levaillant is described by Sitwell as 'the producer of the most comprehensive series of works on exotic birds' to precede Gould, and the technical virtuosity of the colour-printing, which is largely by Millevoy, brilliantly captures the beauty of the gouache and watercolour originals by Barraband and Auguste. Anker 305; Brunet III, 1033; Fine Bird Books p. 91; Nissen IVB 560; Ronsil p. 298; Wood p. 434.