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Jacques Barraband (1767-1809)

Histoire des Perroquets
Paris, 1801-1805
Engravings with original hand-coloring
Barraband originally trained as a draughtsman at the celebrated Gobelins tapestry factory in Paris, and then worked as a ceramic artist drawing for the Sévres factory in 1806, his achievements as an ornithological artist, illustrating the works of Levaillant and others, came later in life. Apart from their undoubted beauty, Barraband's engravings display a scientific accuracy that few ornithological artists have matched since. The meticulous hand-colored engravings in Levaillant's publications were unmatched for the delicate modulations of tone and color, fine lines and perfect draftsmanship, making them exceptional in their richness and tonal variation. Each feather is described by dozens of parallel lines, providing remarkable detail and naturalistically textured color. Some of the prints are embellished with touches of gold leaf on the feathers of the cheeks and shoulders of the birds, emphasizing the preciousness of the plates and reproducing the iridescence of the birds' feathers.