L'Aigrette (Egret), from "Histoire Naturelle de Oiseaux"
François Nicolas Martinet French
Related author Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon French
Not on view
This hand-colored image comes from "Histoire Naturelle Des Oiseaux," a famous set of volumes edited by Georges Louis Leclerc, le comte de Buffon (1707-1788), Intendant du Jardin des Plantes du Roi (head of the royal botanical gardens) under Louis XV. Initially the project was conceived as part of Buffon’s extensive natural history of the world, "Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière," begun in 1749. As published with hand-colored plates engraved by Martinet, the set became an independent set published 1771-86. Distinguished by yellow borders, the images generally show one bird in profile with its habitat indicated in a summary way. Martinet trained as an engineer and draftsman but is best remembered as an engraver, with birds his particular specialty.