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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)

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Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) Erucarum Ortus, Alimentum et Paradoxa Metamorphosis. Amsterdam: Johannes Oosterwijk, [1718]. 4° (234 x 172mm). Engraved allegorical frontispiece by Simon Schijnvoet dated 1717, engraved portrait of the author by Jakob Houbraken, engraved armorial headpiece opening dedication, 3 SECTIONAL TITLES AND 150 PLATES IN COUNTERPROOF DELICATELY COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND, the frontispiece, portrait, armorial and name of the dedicatee heightened in gold. Title to second part printed without masking the Merian imprint at bottom edge. (Occasional very light browning, occasional faint spotting, small marginal tear in 2 leaves.) Contemporary Dutch red morocco gilt, sides panelled with central lozenge incorporating drawer-handle tools, spine gilt in compartments with black lettering-piece in second, marbled endpapers, gilt edges (spine edges very lightly rubbed). Provenance: Theodore Huyghens, dedicatee. THE DEDICATION COPY OF THE FIRST LATIN EDITION OF THE RAUPENBUCH, WITH THE PLATES IN COUNTERPROOF AND COLOURED BY HAND. Although the Erucarum ortus appeared one year after Merian's death, she was very much involved in its publication. From at least 1705 she had intended to issue her work on European insects in Latin as well as Dutch (see previous lot), completing it with a third part. Ill health at the end of her life delayed publication of the third part until just after her death, but the complete Latin edition followed only one year later. It was printed by Johannes Oosterwijk, an Amsterdam publisher who acquired all the plates and texts of Merian's works from her daughter, Dorothea, before she left Amsterdam to take up residence in St. Petersburg in the autumn of 1717. Oosterwijk dedicated this edition to Theodore Huyghens, lawyer and mayor of Honkoop, for whom he had the present copy finely coloured by hand and the dedication leaf illuminated. The binding is remarkably similar to the previous lot, also a de luxe copy with coloured plates in counterproof. Perhaps Oosterwijk (who may have printed the third part of the Dutch edition, as well as the Latin edition) was responsible for binding special copies such as these. THIS IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE FINEST COPY OF THE ERUCARUM ORTUS TO COME ON THE MARKET, and, as the dedication copy, is highly desirable. The plates are in counterproof, the colouring is fresh, and the binding is handsome. Coloured copies of the Erucarum Ortus are very rare; only 2 coloured copies have been offered in Anglo-American auctions in the past 25 years, and Landwehr does not record any coloured copies. Copies with the plates in counterproof are even rarer. Landwehr 135; Nissen BBI 1342.
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