28 November 2001
Johann Daniell Meyer (illustrator, 1713-1752)
Beschreibung und Abbildung des aeussern und innern Baues derjenigen Thiere deren naehere Kenntniss allgemein nützlich ist. Nuremberg: Frauenholzischen Kunsthandlung, 1802. 2° (487 x 340mm). 60 fine hand-coloured engraved plates. (Some spotting and light old dampstaining to text). Later half cloth, uncut, modern brown cloth box, black morocco lettering-piece to 'spine'.
A VERY RARE WORK, ILLUSTRATED WITH A SELECTION OF FINE PLATES BY MEYER. The text to this zoological work is anonymous but the plates are by Johann Daniel Meyer. He was born at Langenzenn, near Fürth and in addition to his work as an engraver he is also known as a print dealer and miniature painter. He died relatively young at the age of 39 in Nuremberg. His best known work (from which the plates in the present work are taken) is Angenehmer und nuetzlicher Zeit-vertreib, published in 3 volumes with 240 plates, between 1748 and 1756. He also produced the plates for the first German edition of John Martyn's Historia Plantarum (Nuremburg, 1752). In many cases the plates combine images of the living animal, expertly hand-coloured, with that of the skeleton of the same animal placed in the same pose directly above or below. Meyer's training as a miniaturist can be seen in the careful rendering of the smallest detail and he generally achieves a life-like realism that would have been startling and almost revolutionary to a mid-18th century audience. This work is very scarce: Nissen (IVB 630) mentions a 1793 editon with the same title and publisher, but containing only 39 plates, but the Rothschild Library at the Tring branch of the London Natural History Museum have a copy which appears to correspond to the present work. It is not mentioned in any of the other standard bibliographies Cf. Nissen IVB 630 (1793 edition); Natural History Museum, London (online catalogue records 1 copy at Tring).
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