PREVOST, Alphonse (fl. 1820-1850). Original Painting of a Fawn-breasted Brilliant Hummingbird. Paris: Ca 1825-1850.
Single sheet, wove paper, framed (11 x 9 inches; framed size 14 x 12 inches), EXQUISITE PAINTING OF A FAWN-BREASTED BRILLIANT HUMMINGBIRD, Heliodoxa rubinoides, perched on a vine with dark berries, original watercolour and gouache over graphite, heightened with gum arabic, inscribed in ink lower right "Troch. Rubinoides" [possibly in Edouard Travies' hand], and in pencil by the artist "A. Prevost".
A superb painting of the Fawn-breasted Brilliant, a species of hummingbird, native to South America, where it occurs in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
Little is known about Alphonse Prevost, except that he worked extensively with Rene Primevere Lesson (1794-1849) preparing illustrations of specimens at the Natural History Museum in Paris, and was also the illustrator of a number of specimens gathered during Duperrey's voyage of discovery between 1822 and 1825. Lesson also illustrated a great number of Hummingbirds for his Histoire Naturelle des Colibris, suivie d'un supplement l'histoire naturelle des oiseaux-mouches - Les Trochilidees ou les Colibris et les Oiseaux-Mouches - Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux-Mouches. Paris: Arthus Bertrand, [1829-1833]. He served as one of the naturalist on board La Coquille during Duperrey's voyage and he was the first to describe a Bird of Paradise in flight when the voyage visited New Guinea in 1824.
The Latin name is provided in ink in a hand identical to that which appears on many watercolours in the Arader Galleries inventory that is identified as that of Edouard Travies (1809-1865), the great illustrator of Hummingbirds included in his iconic Les Oiseaux Les Plus Remarkables Par Leurs Formes et Leurs Couleurs. Scenes variees de leurs moeurs & de leurs Habitudes, Paris: Ledot aine (or Berrieux) and London: E. Gambert & Co. (or Victor Delarue), ca. 1857. It is possible that this watercolour was intended for engraving for an edition of M.A.Richard's Oeuvres Completes de Buffon, Paris 1825-1828, 1834, 1838, 1845, 1848, and ca 1848-1850.