Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des Épimaques

Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des épimaques
Adoption Amount: $5,000
Category: Build and Access the Collection
Location: Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History

Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis et des épimaques : ouvrage orné de planches, dessinées et gravées par les meilleurs artistes

By R. P. Lesson. Paris: A. Bertrand, 1834-1835.

Ever since the surviving ship of Magellan's fleet returned to Spain in 1522 with birds of paradise, all specimens known in Europe through the 18th century were prepared and preserved by native collectors with the bones and feet removed. As a result, Linnaeus' Systema Naturae (10th ed., 1758) gave the greater bird-of-paradise the name Paradisaea apoda (= without feet). René Primevère Lesson (1794-1849), surgeon/pharmacist/naturalist on the round-the-world scientific voyage of the Coquille from 1822 to 1825, was the first European to observe birds of paradise alive in the wild and brought back numerous specimens from the Moluccas and New Guinea. His classic monograph on these birds includes a synopsis of species with descriptions and synonymies and a treatment of each, at least 4 of which were new to European science. The 43 copper plate engravings, from drawings by Jean Gabriel Prêtre and Paul Louis Oudart, are exquisitely color printed and finished by hand. The book is not held by any other library in the Washington, D.C. area.

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