JONSTON, John (1603-1675). Historiae Naturalis de Piscibus et Cetis [...de Exanguibus Aquaticis; ...de Avibus; ...de Quadrupetibus; ...de Insectis... de Serpentibus et Draconib.; Dendrographias sive Historiae Naturalis de Arboribus et Fructicibus]. Frankfurt: Matthaeus Merian or heirs of Matthaeus Merian, [n.d.-]1650-1650-[n.d.-]1653-1662.
5 works in seven parts, bound in three volumes, 2° (316 x 193mm). One half-title. 4 engraved titles, 1 engraved additional title, 386 engraved plates after Matthaeus Merian the younger, Caspar Merian and others (outer margin of one plate in the final volume folding). (Light worming to lower blank margin of first work from beginning to N4, upper margin of E3 in the second work repaired with loss to headline, 11 plates with slight faults.) Uniform contemporary German panelled calf, covers with double-fillet outer gilt border, panels delineated in blind, spines gilt in seven compartments, lettered in the second and third, the others with repeat decoration in gilt, marbled edges. Provenance: early ownership inscription on title of the final work, dated 1665.
A FINE SET OF THE FIRST EDITIONS OF WHAT BECAME A STANDARD 17TH- CENTURY ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF NATURAL HISTORY. Jonston, the grandson of John Johnstone of Craigieburn, Nithsdale, Scotland, was born and raised in Poland. After studying botany and medicine and botany at Cambridge, he travelled extensively before settling in Leiden where he practised medicine. Jonston is now seen chiefly as a 'learned compilor' (Johnston) and his sources for the present work were wide ranging, but probably the main influence was Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605). Merian's plates went on to be extensively reprinted and copied for over a century. In the present set the first volume includes: 1. De piscibus et cetis (including De Exanguibus Aquaticis) with 67 plates. Nissen ZBI 2133, 2134; 2. De Avibus with 62 plates. Nissen ZBI 2132 & IVB 481. The second volume contains: 3. De Quadrupetibus with 80 plates. Nissen ZBI 2131; 4. de Insectis... de Serpentibus et Draconib[us], 2 parts, with 40 plates. Nissen ZBI 2135. The third volume contains: 5. Dendrographias sive de Arboribus et Fructicibus with 137 plates. Johnston Cleveland Collections 233; Nissen BBI 1007. (3)