René Primevère Lesson (1799-1849),
was a leading French naturalist and explorer. From 1822 to 1825 Lesson participated
in the round-the-world voyage of the french corvette the Coquille acting
as the ship's doctor.
The voyage of exploration visited many regions in South
America and the Pacific. On his return, Lesson published books on many aspects
of natural history, but he remains particularly famous for his work on hummingbirds.
Several species were named by him or after him. Primevere later taught botany
at the naval medical school in Rochefort, 182931 and was appointed the
top-ranking navy pharmacist in France in 1835.
The Natural History
of Hummingbirds was one of the first major works on the lives of these fascinating
tiny birds. These beautiful handcolored copperplates were engraved after drawings
by some of the leading artists of the day, including Bessa, Prêtre and