Levaillant, Francois (1753-1824)
Francois Levaillant was the son of the French consul to Dutch Guyana. Levaillant, a naturalist, was sponsored by a patron to find specimens for his collector’s cabinet, and made the 6 month expedition to Africa, landing at the Cape of Good Hope in 1781 and returning to France in 1784. In Africa, he observed the habits of birds and amassed a major collection of specimens, as well as discovering over 50 new species. This became the basis of his monumental work, “Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux d’Afrique”, published in Paris, 1805. This was the only substantial ornithological work published on Africa during that period. Dedicated to Temminck, it was a 6-volume work, issued in 51 parts and contained over 300 quality illustrations. The plates were engraved by Lebrecht Reinold and C.M. Fessard, after illustrations by Reinold. The printing of the first 13 parts was supervised by the ornithologist J.B. Audebert, and the remainder by L’Imprimerie de Langlios. This was the companion work to Baraband’s “Parrots and Birds of Paradise”.
Prints from this publication are very rare