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Handsomely bound in contemporary Dutch marbled calf gilt by A. Van Rossum of Amsterdam, where Coenraad Jacob Temminck lived, this issue contains the text as originally envisaged by Temminck before the changes made by Madame Knip for the second issue – she appropriated the work and made some alterations whilst the original 15 parts were still being issued – and it contains not only the five original watercolours, but shows a lot of additional hand colouring to the 87 etched and colour printed plates after Antoinette Pauline Jacqueline Knip.

There are no straightforward indications as to the identity of the original owner of this copy, which has been assembled with evident care, but Temminck himself is an obvious candidate. Apart from the Amsterdam binding, we have his known fondness for extra-illustrated natural history books and the appearance in one of the Marcel Jeanson sales (in 1988 at Sotheby’s Monaco) of a similarly presented copy of Levaillant’s Oiseaux d’Afrique that is definitely known to have come from his library.

Below right: the parrot with the outraged expression is one of 13 original watercolours found in an exceptional copy of Levaillant’s Histoire naturelle des perroquets that once again has a marked similarity to something in that Jeanson sale, a copy of the same work that Levaillant presented to Temminck.

Most of the 143 (of 145) etched and colour printed plates after drawings by Jacques Barraband in this copy have been extensively retouched “d’après less oiseaux du cabinet de Monsieur Temminck” and, like those in the Pigeons, show added
ornithological detail and background foliage. Bound in contemporary tree calf gilt, and perhaps another presentation copy to Temminck, it sold for £80,000 to a collector.