Item 708 - Blue-winged Emerald

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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Blue-winged Emerald

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Title statements of responsibility

p. Paillou april 1754

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on 2019 species identification.
  • Parallel titles and other title information: Title from Mousley: Chlorostilbon mellisugus

Level of description


Reference code

CA RBD MSG BW002-708

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1754 (Creation)
    Paillou, Peter, approximately 1720-approximately 1790

Physical description area

Physical description

1 watercolour painting ; 56 x 39 cm + 1 leaf

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Name of creator

(approximately 1720-approximately 1790)

Biographical history

Peter Paillou was born in London into a Huguenot family and was recognised in his own time as an eminent ‘bird painter’. In 1744 he began to paint for Taylor White and worked for him for almost thirty years, painting chiefly birds and mammals. He painted as well for Robert More, Joseph Banks, and for the Welsh naturalist Thomas Pennant. Many of his paintings of birds were used as the basis for book illustrations, often engraved by his colleague and fellow Huguenot, Peter Mazell. Paillou was elected to the Society of Artists and in 1763 he exhibited ‘A Piece of Birds, in Watercolours; the Hen of the Wood and Cock of the Red Game’. In 1778, to considerable approval, he also showed a picture of ‘A Horned Owl from Peru’, completely made from feathers.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Drawing of a pair of Emeralds from 18th century specimens.

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General note

Manuscript note on front of drawing: p. Paillou april 1754

General note

Accompanying material

With manuscript text on accompanying leaf.

Accompanying material

Transcription of manuscript note on accompanying leaf: Trochilus cyanocephalus.
T. (brachyurus) rectricibus subaequalibus nigro-
violaceis, corpore supra viridi subtus nigro,
occipite cyaneo, gula cinerea.
Eminoribus [E minoribus], triuncilis. Rostrum nigrum,
semiunciale, vix curvatum. Capitis frons viridi-aurea,
nitidissima, nucha cyanea; Gula cinerea. Dorsum,
Tectrices alarum caudaeque aureo-virescentia
Abdomen nigricans. Alae nigro-violaceae, cauda
paulo breviores. Cauda aequalis, nigro-violacea.
Forte Trochilus cristatus Linn: Syst: Nat:
p. 121. n. 17. omnibus convenit, modo nostra
avis cristata esset.
Habitat in Barbadoes.

Accompanying material

Translation of manuscript note on accompanying leaf: Trochilus cyanocephalus.
T. brachyurus with somewhat equal violet-black flight feathers on
the tail, a body that is green on top and black underneath,
a blue hindhead, and an ash-coloured throat.
It is quite small, three inches. The beak is black,
half an inch long, and barely curved. The front of the head is a
very bright greenish-gold, the nape is blue, the throat is ash-
coloured. The back and the covert feathers on the wings and tail
are golden-green,
and the abdomen is black. The wings are violet-black,
and are slightly shorter than the tail. The tail is equal, and is
violet-black. Perhaps the Trochilus cristatus Linn: Syst: Nat:
p. 121. n. 17. Everyone agrees that our bird would have been crested in this manner.
It lives in Barbados.

Alternative identifier(s)

Volume number

Birds Volume 12, Painting 2

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Physical storage

  • Volume: Birds v.12 (of 16)