CHRISTOPH JAKOB TREW (1695-1769) and BENEDICT CHRISTIAN VOGEL (1745-1825)
Plantae Selectae. [Nuremberg]: 1750-1773. 10 parts in one volume, 2 (514 x 350mm). 3 mezzotint portraits of Trew, G.D. Ehret and J.J. Haid, 10 engraved section titles, heightened in red and gold, manuscript part numbers in ink, 100 hand-coloured engraved plates by Johann Jacob Haid and Johann Elias Haid after Georg Dionysius Ehret, each with the first word of the caption heightened in gold. (Light staining to about 6 plates, more particularly to nos. 1-3, light marginal dampstaining to portrait of Trew and text from K1 to the end.) Contemporary half-calf with speckled paper boards, spine gilt in eight compartments, red morocco lettering-piece in the second, the others with centrally-placed flower tool.
ONE OF THE GREATEST EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BOTANICAL WORKS. Linnaeus wrote to Trew in Latin that "The miracles of our century in the natural sciences are your work of Ehret's plants, Edward's work of birds and Roesel's of insects, nothing to equal them was seen in the past or will be in the future." Christoph Trew, a physician and amateur botanist, had for a number of years been an admirer of Ehret's work. Ehret, a brilliant botanical artist, was born in Heidelberg in 1710 and originally worked as a gardener, practicing drawing in his spare time. His artistic abilities led him to the service of a Regensburg banker named Leskenkohl who had commissioned him to copy plates in van Rheede tot Draakestein, Hortus indicus malabaricus (1678-1703, see lot 87). It was during this period that Trew met Ehret.
Trew was to remain a friend and patron of Ehret's throughout his life, and by 1742 the germ of what was to become the present publication was already under discussion when Trew wrote to Christian Thran in Carlsruhe "Every year I receive some Beautifully painted exotic plants [by Ehret] and have already more than one hundred of them, which with other pieces executed by local artists, should later on... constitute an appendicem to Weinmann's publication" (Gerta Calman, Georg Ehret, Flower painter Extraordinary, 1977, p.97.) Ehret moved to London in the late 1730s, where he painted the recently introduced exotics at the Chelsea Physic Garden and established himself as a teacher of flower-painting and botany. Discussions about the projected work continued by letter until 1748, Johann Jacob Haid from Augsburg agreed to produce the engravings from Ehret's drawings. The first part was published in 1750, with the six subsequent parts appearing before Trew's death in 1769. The text to the final three parts remained unwritten and plates IX and X were still to be produced. The work was brought to a conclusion by Benedict Christian Vogel, Professor of Botany at the University of Altdorf. Dunthorne 309; Great Flower Books p.78; Hunt 539; Nissen BBI 1997; Pritzel 9499; Stafleu & Cowan 15.131.