Manettis work is one of the half dozen or so great bird books in the collectors sense (Fine Bird Books). The production of its five massive folio volumes must have been one of the most remarkable publishing ventures ever undertaken in Florence. Begun in 1767 and completed ten years later, it was larger, better engraved and more vividly coloured than any previous book on birds, but these are not its only claim to fame. The attitudes of the birds themselves give this book its unique character. Strutting, parading, posturing, and occasionally flying over its 600 hand-coloured plates are birds whose real-life counterparts would surely disown them, and not without reason, for Manetti seems in these pictures to be depicting the human comedy, the habits and mannerisms of contemporary Italian society. Nonetheless his book may still be rated among the very greatest bird books, if only for its magnificent comicality (Dance).