La Rousette/La Rougette, c. 1770, Buffon
La Roussette/La Rougette, Buffon's Histoire naturelle, c. 1770
This stunning hand-colored copper engraving depicts two different species of bats. The print shows these bats in the midst of Roman-style ruins with moss climbing endlessly along the walls in a timeless, Romantic style. While the engraving serves as a scientific observation from an Enlightenment-era publication, the artistic rendition of the bats gives it a more universal appeal.
Bats can be found all over the world. Over 1,240 species of bats exist, and can be divided into two categories: mega or microbats. This simplistic ordering system allows bats to be easily identified as either smaller "microbats" of the United States and Europe that often use echolocation, or the larger flying foxes, who are known for their excellent vision and often prefer tropical climates.
Depicted here are two different types of flying foxes. Flying foxes, or fruit bats, can be found throughout Asia, various islands in the Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. Unlike their smaller European counterparts, fruit bats are diurnal creatures who hunt in the day, and subsist primarily on fruit, nectar and blossoms, as opposed to blood or insects. These are some of the largest bats in the world, and can have wingspans up to five feet.
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, (1707-1788) was a French naturalist and mathematician who had a profound effect on science. His work influenced the next two generations of naturalists and he was one of the most widely read authors of the day. He was the director of the Jardin du Roi, which is now the Jardin des Plantes, and was instrumental in transforming it into a research facility and museum. Buffon's great masterpiece is Histoire naturelle, which consisted of thirty-six volumes published from 1749 until 1788.
Plate size: 3" x 5"
Sheet size: 6.5" x 4"
Condition: Some foxing outside of the plate, but otherwise in excellent condition.