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    Sale 7590

    Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books

    4 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 275

    MERIAN, Maria Sibylla (1647-1717). Erucarum ortus, alimentum et paradoxa metamorphosis. Amsterdam: Johannes Oosterwijk, [1718].

    Price Realised  


    MERIAN, Maria Sibylla (1647-1717). Erucarum ortus, alimentum et paradoxa metamorphosis. Amsterdam: Johannes Oosterwijk, [1718].

    3 parts in one volume, 4° (234 x 178 mm). Hand-coloured engraved allegorical frontispiece by Simon Schijnvoet dated 1717, hand-coloured engraved armorial headpiece opening dedication, 5 hand-coloured initials and 4 hand-coloured tailpieces in the text, 150 hand-coloured engraved plates. (Bound without the three sectional titles, occasional light spotting to text, light finger soiling to frontispiece, small chip to lower corner of plate 11 not affecting image, small worm track to lower margin of preliminaries frontispiece and title, not affecting image or text.) Contemporary vellum (spine lightly soiled). Provenance: William Brodie (bookplate).

    FIRST LATIN EDITION of Sybilla Merian's Raupenbuch. 'Among the most important works in her oeuvre is her work on the feeding and growth of European caterpillars ... because these volumes contain both illustrations and texts, they provide a wealth of insights into Merian's interests with respect to art and nature, the intentions she sought in her work and the public for whom that work was intended. A unique primary source of information about a baroque painter, the Raupenbuch is also an invaluable historical source as a document of the popularisation of natural history in the early Enlightenment period.' (Heidrun Ludwig, 'The Rapuenbuch. A popular natural history', in Maria Sibylla Merian 1647-1717 Artist and Naturalist, Ostfildern: Gerd Hatje, 1998, p.53). As both Ludwig and Kay Etheridge (SHNH Annual Meeting 2006, TCD) have shown, Merian was the first to emphasize the life cycles and interactions of her depicted species - starting with the first part of the Raupenbuch, published in Nuremberg in 1679, and culminating in her masterpiece Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium, 1705 - in effect publishing the first ecological studies. Nissen BBI 1342; Dunthorne 205; Hunt 483; Landwehr 135.

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