SEBA, Augustus (1665-1736). Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri, in Dutch and Latin. Amsterdam: J. Wetsteen, William Smith, and Jannsonius van Waesberge (vols. 1 and 2), and Janssonius van Waesberge (vol. 3), 1734-1758 .
3 volumes only (of 4), 2° (537 x 355mm). Half-title in Dutch in each volume, title-pages in red and black with engraved vignette by P. Tanjé after L.F. Dubourg, allegorical frontispiece, full-page engraved portrait of Seba by Jakob Houbraken after J.M. Quinkhard, engraved headpiece to dedication and opening text of each volume, and 314 (of 449) engraved plates, of which 167 are double-page or folding, by Tanjé, F. de Bakker and others, ALL FINELY HAND-COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY ARTIST, SEVERAL WITH GOLD HIGHLIGHTING. Blank label stuck over last two figures of date MDCCLXIX in colophon, as described by Landwehr. (Two text leaves in vol. I extended at outer margin, tiny marginal wormtrack in about 10 leaves in vol. I, last few plates and leaves lightly dampstained, occasional very light off-setting of text, a few plates slightly misbound.) Contemporary crimson leather-backed buff paper boards, spines lettered in gold (lightly spotted and lightly worn).
FIRST EDITION, the Dutch-Latin text issue. The Thesaurus is essentially a 'museum on paper', documenting the second and more extensive cabinet of curiosities assembled by the Amsterdam apothecary, Albertus Seba. Having sold his first cabinet to the Russian czar, Peter the Great, in 1717 for 15,000 Dutch guilders, Seba immediately began gathering specimens for his second cabinet by taking advantage of Amsterdam's pre-eminent position in overseas trade with ships returning from the far corners of the world, as well as his own world-wide network of scientists and scholars, which included Hans Sloane, J.J. Scheuchzer, H. Boerhaave (who wrote a preface to the Thesaurus), and C. Linneaus. Seba himself wrote the text for the first two volumes, but his death in 1736 interrupted publication. Its continuation was financed, ironically, by the sale of his collection at auction in 1752, and the third volume appeared in 1758 with the fourth (missing here) following finally in 1765. The third volume is particularly valuable for its work on fishes by Peter Artedi. Some specimens from both his cabinets survive, principally at St. Petersburg and Paris (cf. M. Boesman, 'The vicissitudes and dispersal of Albertus Seba's zoological specimens', Zoologische Mededelingen, 44, 1970, pp.177-207). AN EXTREMELY FRESH AND LARGE COPY, FINELY COLOURED, AND RETAINING DECKLE EDGES IN ITS ORIGINAL BOARDS. Anker 454; Fine Bird Books, p.106; Landwehr 178; Nissen ZBI 3793; Nissen BBI 1825; Pritzel 8562. (3)