BARRABAND, Jacques (1767/8-1809)
[Perroquet à face rouge male (Hispaniolan Amazon [Amazona ventralis])]
[Pl. 109] Paris: 1801-05. Colour-printed stipple engraving. Sheet size: 19 x 12 inches.
Extremely rare proof impression: one of only 10 copies printed. Native to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and some offshore islands, and introduced to Puerto Rico. This bird remains common but numbers are suffering from habitat loss, trapping and hunting. Generally found in pairs or small flocks they inhabit all forested areas and forage in cultivated areas.
Jacques Barraband was the finest ornithological artist of his time. The son of a weaver at the Aubusson Factory, he is first mentioned as a pupil of Joseph Malaine (1745-1809), the eminent flower painter, and is known to have worked for both the Gobelin Factory and the porcelain factory of Sèvres. His most important work was undoubtedly the 300 or so drawings that he produced for François Levaillant's three great ornithological monographs, the greatest of which was the Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets (1801-1805). This print is from a very rare issue of Levaillant's Perroquets published on large format paper (papier vélin colombier satiné), with the plates printed avant-lettre and, according to the livraison wrappers, limited to ten sets. This issue is not recorded in any of the standard bibliographies.