We are offering a selection of fish prints from the
Tableau Encyclopedique er Methodique des Trois Regnes de la Nature by Monsieur L’Abbe Bonnaterre,
published in 1788. This was the largest encyclopedia of the enlightenment, covering all aspects of the natural world, in the comprehensive mode that was very much the driving force of the era.
Bonnaterre (1752?-1804), was a priest in the Rouergue and professor at the central school of Rhodes. The publisher Panckouke employed Bonnaterre to contribute to the
Encyclopédie Méthodique, in the areas of mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects. Bonnaterre composed an extensive text for the part on fishes and availed himself of the works of most of the earlier authors and collected drawings of more than 400 species. He copied many of the drawings of Bloch and when these were not available he took them from the works of Gronovius, Broussonet, Pennant and others. When these authors failed him he even returned to the classics like Willughby, Rondelet and Piso. References include Pietsch,1995 & Nissen, 1969.
The result is a wonderfully artful & appealing selection of fish on 102 copper engraved plates. These prints are all ORIGINAL copper engravings from 1788 that have been exquisitely hand colored by one of the few remaining professional colorists in England whose specialty is fish,
and following descriptions & images of the species illustrated. Each print measures approximately
8 ½ by 10 ½ inches. The condition of the plates is excellent, with the paper being a fine, heavy, watermarked chain lined type with strong plate marks. There are few fox marks or other blemishes & the paper is a creamy white. A copy of the title page will be included with each print. These prints are about 215 years old.