168 fine ink and watercolor drawings of birds, including parrots, song birds, domestic fowl and exotics, most signed "P.H." in lower corner. Contemporary gilt vellum, edges gilt.
Pieter Holsteyn II (Dutch, ca. 1614-73/83) worked closely with his father, Pieter Holsteyn the Elder, (famed as a glass painter) in producing fine gouaches and watercolor natural history portraits and botanicals. The younger Pieter’s reputation has eclipsed that of his father, and is seen today as one of the early modern Northern European masters of the nature study. His particular skill was the delicate, but detailed depiction of many of the new and exotic species being brought back from the voyages of the Dutch East India Company.
The present lot is particularly desirable as most of the natural history albums produced in the 17th century have long since been broken apart and the images sold piecemeal. The survival of the present is even more astounding in that the its famed image of a White Dodo remains intact. It is one of only a handful of the vanquished sub-specie known, and it is speculated that it was the basis for a now lost painting by Holsteyn (see Parish, The Dodo and the Solitaire, p. 153).
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