London, South Kensington
5 June 2007
WORM, Ole (1588-1654). Museum Wormianum seu historia rerum rariorum. Leiden: Elzevir, 1655. Small 2° (357 x 222mm). Engraved double-page plate view of the museum by Wingendorp, portrait by Wingendorp after C. van Mander, 13 engraved and 139 woodcut illustrations in text (title and index quite spotted, wormtrack in upper margin of title, double-page plate and a few following leaves, a few leaves browned, lightly spotted throughout). Early 19th-century sheep-backed boards (lightly rubbed).
FIRST EDITION of this major work in early European museum literature. "A gifted polymath, Worm collected many types of objects, especially those of natural history and man-made artifacts, which he carefully arranged and classified, following a rigorous method ... His museum, which became one of the great attractions in Copenhagen, included the skull of a narwhal properly described; previously narwhal tusks had been supposed to be the horns of unicorns" (DSB). Worm was professor of Medicine at the University of Copenhagen for most of the time he was amassing the collection of his museum. Nissen ZBI 4473; Willems 772.
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