This fine engraving is from Pierre Sonnerat's Voyage à la Nouvelle Guinée, dans lequel on trouve la description des Lieux, des Observations physiques & morales, & des details relatifs a l'Histoire Naturelle dans le Regne Animal & le Regne Vegetal. The work was published by Chez Ruault in Paris in 1776. It featured information from the Moluccas, Philippines, Manila, and the island of Luzon in Antiqua.
The work was claimed to largely depict the botany and birds of New Guinea. It is considered an extremely important work that accounts for Sonnerat's first voyage to New Guinea, though he only made it to Gebi island and the illustrations depict discoveries found primarily in the Philippines and Moluccas. Sonnerat's journey to all of New Guinea did not occur, and he was exposed for this in his lifetime, but the birds depicted were real even if not all living or native to New Guinea.
He featured one of the first representations of the Australian common laughing Kookaburra (Hill), notated as the "great Kingfisher New Guinea." The flora includes representations of palms and spices (including nutmeg and cloves) mostly native to the Moluccas (Spice Islands) and Philippines. He also depicted three penguins that he claimed native to New Guinea, though penguins do not live there. It was discovered in Penny Olsen's Feather and Brush: Three Centuries of Australian Bird Art (2001) that Sonnerat received Sir Joseph Banks specimens of kookaburra and penguins in the 1760s and used these for the illustration of the mis-labeled birds. The specimens were sketched by Paul Philippe Sanguin de Jossigny and intended for Dr. Philibert Commerson, however, Sonnerat kept the illustrations and signed them for his own work.
Size: 9 3/4 by 7 1/4 inches.
Artist: Pierre Sonnerat
Engraving with Recent Professional Hand-Coloring
Condition: Overall Very Good Antique Condition, with some expected signs of age.
Literature: Voyage a la Nouvelle Guinee.
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18th Century Engraving - "Green Bird Of Paradise" - Pierre Sonnerat - Engraving with Recent Professional Hand-Coloring