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Joseph Jakob von Plenck (1738-1807)
Joseph Jakob von Plenck (1738-1807)

A collection of watercolours of flowers and insects including Helianthus annuus (Jerusalem Artichoke) illustrated; Lilium martagon (Turk's Cap Lily); Berberis vulgaris (Barberry); Ruta graveolens (Rue); Hyacinthus orientalis; Juncus minor and Juncus major; Alyssum odoratum (Sweet Alyssum); Antirrhinum majus (Snap Dragon); Matthiola incana (Stock); Anacardiun occidentale (Cashew Nut), illustrated; Canna indica (Indian Shot); Erythrina corallodendronn (Coral Tree); Euphorbia heterophyulla; Cyrilla pulchella; Lupinus var. (Lupin); Rosa centifolia (Rose); Lablab dolichos (Bean); and Silybum marianum (Mary's Thistle)

Details
Joseph Jakob von Plenck (1738-1807)
A collection of watercolours of flowers and insects including Helianthus annuus (Jerusalem Artichoke) illustrated; Lilium martagon (Turk's Cap Lily); Berberis vulgaris (Barberry); Ruta graveolens (Rue); Hyacinthus orientalis; Juncus minor and Juncus major; Alyssum odoratum (Sweet Alyssum); Antirrhinum majus (Snap Dragon); Matthiola incana (Stock); Anacardiun occidentale (Cashew Nut), illustrated; Canna indica (Indian Shot); Erythrina corallodendronn (Coral Tree); Euphorbia heterophyulla; Cyrilla pulchella; Lupinus var. (Lupin); Rosa centifolia (Rose); Lablab dolichos (Bean); and Silybum marianum (Mary's Thistle)
one signed 'J Plenck' (lower right), the majority inscribed with identification in both Latin and German (lower left or lower right)
pencil and watercolour, heightened with white, watermark Strasburg lily (3), 'C.K. HOWIE' (3), fragmentary watermark (7), unframed
14.1/8 x 8.7/8 in. (35.9 x 22.8 cm.) (15)

Lot Essay

A famous Austrian botanist and physician, Plenck was a professor at Ofen in Hungary, Basel and professor of botany and chemistry at the Joseph Academy, Vienna. He is best known for his publication Icones Plantarum Medicinalium, Vienna, 1788-1812. The book contains 758 hand-coloured engravings and are described by Blunt as 'delightful, and very decorative in treatment' (Blunt, p. 177). Plenck worked in the style of Nikolaus Joseph Jacquin (1727-1817), the distinguished Dutch scientist and prolific author, who moved to Vienna to seek his fortune. During the second half of the 18th century Vienna became an important centre of botanical study under the patronage of the Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Francis I.
The characteristic shadows behind each specimen lift the illustrations from the page and heighten the realism of the watercolours.
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