Eleazar Albin

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"Albin's Macaw", a Jamaican parrot only known from this 1740 painting by Eleazar Albin
Privet Hawk Moths and Callajoppa Exaltatoria by Eleazar Albin, 1720

Eleazar Albin (fl. 1690 – c. 1742)[1] was an English naturalist and watercolourist illustrator who wrote and illustrated a number of books including A Natural History of English Insects (1720), A Natural History of Birds (1731–38) and The Natural History of Spiders and other Curious Insects (1736). He has been described as one of the "great entomological book illustrators of the 18th century".[1]


Nothing is known of Albin's early life, though he may have been German-born; he claimed to have been in Jamaica in 1701. In 1708 he is known to have been married and living in Piccadilly, London. According to autobiographical details in A Natural History of English Insects, Albin taught watercolour painting before being instructed in natural history by silk weaver and naturalist Joseph Dandridge.

A Natural History of Birds has coloured engravings by Albin and his daughter Elizabeth Albin. In that book Albin writes "As for the paintings, they are all done from life, with all the exactness I could either with my own hand, or my daughters, whom I have taught to draw and paint after the life".[2]

In his work on birds he describes the wood-crow (northern bald ibis) from a stuffed specimen, being probably the last description of this bird made while the species was still extant in Europe.[3]


  • W. Derham & E. Albin. A natural history of English insects. Illustrated with a hundred copper plates, curiously engraven from the life: and (for those who desire it) exactly coloured by the author (London, William Innys, 1729).
  • Albin, Eleazar; Derham, William (1731–1738). A natural history of birds : illustrated with a hundred and one copper plates, curiously engraven from the life (3 Volumes). London: Printed for the author and sold by William Innys.
  • E. Albin. A natural history of spiders, and other curious insects (London, Tilly, 1736).
  • E. Albin. A Natural History of English Songbirds (1737). With coloured plates.
  • R. North & E. Albin. The History of Esculent Fish" (1794).


  1. ^ a b Michael A. Salmon, Peter Marren, Basil Harley. The Aurelian Legacy (University of California Press, 2000) pp. 109-110.
  2. ^ "Illustrated by women". University of Glasgow Special Collections. University of Glasgow. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  3. ^ Last records of Northern Bald Ibis in Europe


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Albin, Eleazar". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

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