Le Messager du Cap de Bonne-Esperance (Secretarybird)
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Francoise Nicolas Martinet (1760-1800)
Plate 721: Le Messager du Cap de Bonne-Esperance
From: Histoire naturelle Des Oiseaux
Hand-colored copperplate engraving.
Sheet Dimension: 9.5 x 7.75 in.
Francois Nicolas Martinet engraved illustrations of birds for books by some of the most influential ornithologist in 18th-century France. This edition, containing 1,008 images by Martinet, was certainly the most ambitious and comprehensive bird book, which had appeared at the time of it publication. Martinet completed both the original drawings and hand-engraved all of the copperplates. A broad spectrum of birds are shown, including birds native to Europe, as well as exotic tropical birds such as parrots and toucans. Each is rendered in a scientific manner, outlined in yellow border. They are distinctly 18th century in conception and style, generally with a hint of the bird's habitat, such as a tree branch, rock or water.