PREVOST, Alphonse (fl. 1820-1850). Original Painting of Isaacson's Puffleg Hummingbird. Paris: Ca 1820.
Single sheet, wove paper (11 x 9 inches), EXQUISITE PAINTING OF ISAACSON'S PUFFLEG HUMMINGBIRD, Eriocnemis isaacsonii, perched on a vine with dark berries, original watercolour and gouache over graphite, heightened with gum arabic, inscribed in ink lower right "Troch. Isaacsonii" [possibly in Edouard Travies' hand], and in pencil by the artist "A. Prevost".
Provenance: with a 19th-century contemporary blind-stamped collector's mark "B" lower right.
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.