Nuremberg c1750

copper engraved plate with original hand colouring; overall c39 x 24 cm, plate c27 x 20 cm. some foxing and faint staining; on verso: blank; o/w exc. cond.

A beautifully engraved and very decorative bird print by George Edwards (1694-1773) , engraved by Johann Sebastian Leitner (1715-1795) and edited by Johann Michael Seligmann (1720-1762) for ‘A Natural History of Uncommon Birds..’, which was considered to be the most comprehensive natural history book of the 18th century with over 400 prints. Each bird is shown perched on branches or rocks in their natural habitat, surrounded by insects and plants.

Each plate shows the name of the bird in German, Latin and French. The first edition was published 1743 – 1751, with editions in French (1768-76) and Dutch (1772-81). see Fine Bird Books, p93.

Edwards was an English draughtsman and etcher who served his apprenticeship in London, and visited the Netherlands, France and Norway. He became the Librarian to the Royal College of Physicians and was later elected a Fellow both of the Royal Society and the Society of Arts. He had a keen interest in observing birds and was one of the most imminent ornithologist of his times.

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