Merlo in gran parte bianco
11 x 13.5 inches
A copper-plate etching in original hand-colouring, published in Florence in 1767-76.
This engravings of a gull comes from Storia Naturale degli Uccelli Trattata con Metodo… Ornithologia Methodice Digesta, a monumental work in six huge volumes by Saverio Manetti (1723-84), comprising in all some six hundred plates. Many carry a dedication to the luminaries of the day in Florence, and it has been suggested that in some cases there is more than a hint of caricature. As one commentator observed, the birds, strutting, posturing and parading, "seem to mirror the habits and mannerisms of contemporary Italian society".