JACQUES BARRABAND French, (1767-1809)
Jacques Barraband, French zoological and botanical illustrator, is regarded as one of the finest ornithological artists of the late 18th century. Renowned for his incredibly life-like images of tropical birds, Barraband's most famous work revolves around the illustrations he developed to accompany the scientific studies of François LeVaillant, French author, explorer, naturalist, zoological collector and noted ornithologist. Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets, published in Paris between 1801 and 1805 and to which Barraband contributed, is still considered one of the most beautiful collections of bird illustrations of all time.
The son of a weaver at the famed Aubusson Factory, Barraband was a student of Joseph Malaine, the esteemed flower painter, and worked for the Gobelin Factory and the porcelain factory of Sèvres. When he began to collaborate with engraver Louis Bouquet and printer Francois Langlois to create the artwork for Histoire naturelle des perroquets, he participated in the Langois-inspired technique of a la poupee, which involved carefully hand inking the engraved plates with colored inks using a felt dauber. After pulling an impression from the carefully inked plate it was then embellished further with watercolor. The resulting engravings have exceptional detail, and rich striking color. These lavish published works were among the most beautiful French natural history illustrations ever created and were sent as presents to crowned heads, men of science and learned bodies as unquestionable reflections of the splendors of the French Empire.