Francois Levaillant (1753-1824)

Francois Levaillant (born Vaillant) was a French author, naturalist and ornithologist born 6 August 1753 in Paramaribo Surinam (Dutch Guiana). By 1777 he had moved to Paris and began a career trading in natural history specimens.

Francois made three expeditions to South Africa and collected many specimens of birds, insects, mammals and plants. He wrote several books based on his travels. Francois’ biggest claim to fame was that he brought the first giraffe skeleton back to France.

Francois rarely illustrated birds in the wild instead, he illustrated them from the stuffed and mounted skins of birds he had collected. This included Australian birds which he illustrated without having ever visited the country.

Francois died 22 November 1824 in La Noue France.

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