Catalog Archive
Auction 132, Lot 678

"[Lot of 6 - Wild Cats]", Buffon, Comte de

Subject: Animals

Period: 1766 (circa)

Publication: Histoire Naturelle Generale et Particuliere

Color: Black & White

6 x 7.5 inches
15.2 x 19.1 cm
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Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and author. Today he is often referred to simply as Buffon. His greatest achievement was the publication of Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi published in Paris 1749-1804, in 44 volumes (9 published posthumously). This ambitious project influenced the next two generations of naturalists. Characteristic of the Enlightment period, it was the first complete natural history survey presented in a popular encyclopedic format. He presented several theories that challenged theological dogma, including the suggestion that the earth was older than 6,000 years and that humans and apes might has a common ancestry. Jacques Eustache de Sève was the principal artist commissioned for the Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière. His illustrations, which set the subjects within complete classical landscape backgrounds, influenced later natural history illustrators.

Buffon’s other major natural history publications were Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux, published in collaboration with Edme Louis Daubentaon, with illustrations by François-Nicolas Martinet, 1765-1780; and Encyclopedie Methodique, with illustrations by Jacques Eustache de Sève, 1774-1832.

This lot contains six fine engravings of big cats; Canadian lynx, l'once (probably a snow leopard), panther, leopard, lynx, and a tiger.


Condition: A

Some minor foxing and pencil notations in the margins.

Estimate: $200 - $300

Sold for: $150

Closed on 6/2/2010