13 June 2002
HOLMSKJOLD, Theodor (1732-1794). Beata ruris otia Fungis Danicis. Copenhagen: Sören Gylendal, 1799.
2 volumes in one, 2° (424 x 265mm). Text in Latin and Danish. Engraved hand-coloured additional title with large symbolic vignette illustration, 75 fine hand-coloured engraved plates by J.A. Neander, C.C. Frank and others, extra-illustrated with the letterpress title and dedication leaf (with hand-coloured engraved head-piece) from the earlier issue of vol.I. Early-19th century green morocco gilt by J. Clarke, covers with wide decorative border of fillets, scrolling vine and stylised foliage roll-tools, spine in seven compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, others with elaborate repeat decoration of massed small flower and foliage tools, turn-ins with triple-fillet gilt border, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
A FINE COPY OF THIS VERY RARE WORK ON THE FUNGI OF DENMARK AND ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY-ILLUSTRATED NATURAL HISTORY WORKS OF THE PERIOD. The subject matter of this work is not very promising, but even a cursory glance at the plates reveals the quality of the illustrations. A closer inspection reveals a carefully observed world in miniature: the engraved lines acting as faint guide-lines only, with the full beauty of each specimen revealed by the highly-skilled colourist. The inscription on the second plate implies that most of the plates are the work of Joh. Adolf Neander. This copy conforms to Stafleu and Cowan's second recorded issue (the title and 75 rather than 74 plates are the most obvious pointers), but the presence of the earlier version of the title to vol.I (dated 1790), and an additional dedication leaf are difficult to account for. No complete copies of this work are recorded as having sold at auction in the past twenty five years. BM (NH) II, p.864; Nissen BBI 906; Stafleu and Cowan 2955
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