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Shells & Corals - Martinet - Plate 92

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Hand colored copperplate selected from the famous Diderot and D'Alembert "Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopedia, or a systematic dictionary of the sciences, arts, and crafts), an encyclopedia published in France between 1751 and 1766, with later supplements and revisions in 1772, 1777 and 1780 and numerous foreign editions and later derivatives.

Diderot's "Encyclopedia," a landmark work of the Enlightenment that depicted the arts and sciences, and the tools and methods of artisans and trade people in a methodical and thorough way. The entire encyclopedia was published between 1751 and 1772, and comprised 17 volumes of text and 11 volumes of plates. The marvellous detailed plates show how everything in the period was made. It had a huge impact on its own time, and is highly valued by present-day historians as a record of the techniques and vocations of the pre-Industrial world. It is also a great resource for collectors, art and craftspeople.

François-Nicolas Martinet was a French engraver and draughtsman. In 1756 he was working for the court of France as Graveur du Cabinet du Roi, under the auspices of the Menus Plaisirs du Roi, making engravings after drawings by others of such subjects as the May Ball at Versailles during the Carnival of 1763. 

At the same time Martinet produced illustrations for plays or comic operas by such contemporaries as Marmontel, Voltaire and Philidor. Some of these he engraved himself, while others were drawn by him but engraved by his sister Thrse Martinet (born c. 1731). 

He is best known for his engravings of birds for Comte de Buffon's, Histoire Naturelle Des Oiseaux published in Paris from 1770-86. He also engraved portraits, landscapes and genre scenes.