RUMPF, Georg Eberhard (1627-1702). Herbarium Amoinense, plurimas conplectens arbores frutices...nunc primum in lucem edidit, & in latinum sermonem vertit Joannes Burmannus. Amsterdam: M. Uytwerf, 1750-55.
6 volumes, 2o (402 x 249 mm). Dutch and Latin title-pages printed in red and black. Engraved frontispiece, engraved portraits of Rumpf and Burmann, engraved vignettes, and 698 engraved plates on 697 leaves, 3 folding (possibly lacking a plate in the Auctuarium [see references below], few minor foxmarks). (Titles a bit browned, some occasional light browning and spotting.) Contemporary calf gilt (vol. I rebacked preserving original spine, vol. VI front hinge cracked, general wear and soiling). Provenance: unidentified armorial bookplate; purchased from Francis Edwards, 1970.
FIRST EDITION, second issue, with titles redated 1750 (otherwise identical to first), with the rare supplement, Auctuarium, at the end of the final volume. Here the preliminary matter *****-********* is bound in vol. I, rather than vol. II.
Along with Rheede tot Draakestein's Hortus Indicus Malabaricus (see lot 89), this work is the first great survey of East Indies flora. Although the work is primarily focused on the plants of Amboina, the small island in the Banda Sea, Rumpf includes many species found throughout the Dutch East Indies. "Few important scientific works have come to print under greater difficulties" (Hunt). Rumpf, a German-born Dutch citizen, was enlisted with the Dutch West Indies Company for Brazil but was taken prisoner by the Portuguese. In 1652 he enlisted with the East Indies Company and took up residence in Amboina in 1653. His sight was failing and by 1670, when his great work was ready for publication, he had become blind. His bad fortunes continued when in 1674 his wife was killed in an earthquake, and in 1687 a fire destroyed his library including his original drawings. These were drawn anew by his son Paul, and in 1692 the manuscript of the first six books was sent to Holland for publication, but the ship carrying it was destroyed by the French. Copies of the manuscript for the complete work did not reach Holland until 1697, where it languished for 32 years in the archives of the Dutch East Indies Company. It was Jan Burmann who rescued it and prepared it for publication. A consensus is not reached among the various bibliographies regarding plate count; although Nissen and Pritzel call for 30 plates in the Auctuarium, the 29 included in the present copy appear to be complete. Hunt 518 (669 plates in the main work [without supplement], as here]; Nissen BBI 1700 (calling for 30 plates in the supplement, rather than 29 as here); Pritzel 7908 (30 plates in the supplement); Stafleu & Cowan TL2 9784 ("in all there are 696 plates"). (6)