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These delightful quadruped engravings are from Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon’s multi-volume work Histoire Naturelle. Publishing began for this monumental work in 1749 and continued until 1783. Histoire Naturelle was one of the most expansive works done in the field of natural history and sparked European interest in the field. His work became one of the most informative sources as far as the visual appearance of animals, and was highly understandable for a wide audience. Buffon described his work and love for natural history by stating that, “Natural history embraces all the objects the universe presents to us. This prodigious multitude of quadrupeds, birds, fish, insects, plants, minerals, etc., offers to the curiosity of the human mind a vast spectacle, of which the whole is so great that the details are inexhaustible.” Jacques E. De Seve was the principal artist for the work, who not only portrayed the animals, but insisted on creating magnificent backgrounds in which to view them. Due to its 44 volumes, this work employed scores of engravers, including C. Baquoy, De Fehrt, Chevillet and Jardinier. They are on fine chain-linked, water-marked paper that measures ~7 3/4″ by 10″.
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