• Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon

    1707-1788
    Naturalist

    George Lous Leclerc, Comte de Buffon PortraitPublished Histoire Naturelle, générale et particuliere, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi. Paris, French Imprimerie Royale edition (1749-1804) 38 volumes. 4to (274 x 220mm). With handcoloured engraved portrait of Buffon, numerous handcoloured engraved vignettes, 10 (8 large folding) handcoloured engraved maps, 1 handcoloured folded table and 1146 beautifully handcoloured engraved plates.

    The total number of copies printed did not exceed 200, a few large paper copies were issued and even fewer 'illuminated' copies. The price of a coloured copy was about fl. 600 which makes it one of the most expensive Dutch natural history books of the 18th century. The most expensive work was a coloured copy of Seba at fl. 800. in 44 volumes. All plates are after drawings by de Sève, the famous French landscape painter. The animals are depicted in their natural habitat, amidst charming landscapes, villages, rivers, mountains etc. These elaborately drawn plates, full of elegance, became exceedingly popular and have often been copied by later artists. They have an artistic liveliness which is somehow lacking in the the work Martinet made for Buffon's 'Planches Enluminées'. "Buffon's work is of exceptional importance because of its diversity, richness, originality, and influence. Buffon was among the first to create an autonomous science, free of any theological influence. He emphasized the importance of natural history and the great length of geological time" Artist Profile