2 watercolour three sunbirds, 106


Description: Original watercolour of three sunbirds, for Temminck's monumental ornithological work

[Souimanga métallique, mâle & femelle & Souimanga souci, mâle (= plate 347 from Temminck's Nouveau recueil de planches coloriées d'oiseaux ...)].
[France], 1825. Watercolour of 3 birds on unwatermarked wove paper (ca. 48 x 35 cm), all standing on a branch, the middle branch signed: "JG Prêtre/ 1825". With the birds numbered in pencil, and the plate number and bird names in pencil in the lower left corner.
€ 1,500
Original watercolour of a male and a female Metallic Sunbird (Anthreptes metallicus) and a male Flame-breasted Sunbird (Cinnyris solaris) by the prolific zoological artist Jean Gabriel Prêtre, produced for Temminck's Nouveau recueil de planches coloriées d'oiseaux... (Paris, 1820-1839). Sunbirds make up a family of very small passerine birds. The Metallic Sunbird, best known as the Nile Valley Sunbird(here named: Souimanga Métallique), are found in north-west Africa and the Middle East, while the Flame-breasted Sunbird (here: Souimanga Souci) is primarily found in Indonesia and East Timor.
Temminck's lavishly illustrated Nouveau recueil de planches coloriées d'oiseaux... issued in 102 parts between 1820-1839, was published as a kind of continuation to Buffon's Histoire naturelle des oiseaux (1770-1786). In total it contains ca. 600 engraved plates with about 800 figures of birds by Nicolas Huet and Prêtre, and it's considered "the most monumental work of the post-Napoleonic period" (Balis).
Paper slightly browned. A beautiful watercolour of three sunbirds.
For the published work see: Anker 502; Balis, Van diverse pluimage 75; Nissen, IVB 932; Zimmer, pp. 626-628.
  • Number: 1060017
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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