Lot 2347
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Autumn Auction: Decorative Art, Interiors, Silver, Jewellery, Classic Cars and Books & Prints
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[ENTOMOLOGY] – MERIAN, M.S. De Europische Insecten, Naauwkeurig onderzogt, na ’t leven geschildert, en in print gebragt door Maria Sibilla Merian: Met een korte Beschryving, waar in door haar gehandelt word van der Rupsen begin, Voedzel en wonderbare Vera

Tot Amsterdam, By J.F. Bernard, 1730, [4],84 text-pp. With engr. title-vignette after B. Picart, 1 engr. ill. (tail-piece on p. 84) & 184 engravings by Maria Sibylla Merian (resp. Roman numb. I(1-2), II-L, LI(1-2), LII-CLXIX, CLXXI, CLXXIII-CLXXXIV in the plate) printed on 47 leaves (recto only). Folio (ca. 53 x 37 cm.), contemp. ribbed half-roan.

¶ Nissen (BBI) 1342 (erroneously listing 186 ills.). Landwehr (Col. Plates) 136. Hagen I, p. 536. Hunt (Botanical Books) 483n. Enlarged second edition (but the first folio edition with the engravings in uncoloured state) of an anonymous Dutch translation of “Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung, und sonderbare Blumen-Nahrung [..]”, one of the most important entomological works by the German-born naturalist & artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717). The first German edition was publ. in 1679-1683, the first Dutch edition in 1712-1717 (titled “Der Rupsen Begin, Voedzel, en wonderbaare Verandering” illustrated with 150 engravings). In 1730 the French publisher Jean Frédéric Bernard (1680-1744) published in Amsterdam simultaneously a French & Dutch edition (illustrated with the same engravings) using the engr. frontispiece (with French title) for both editions, but which is often missing in the Dutch edition (as in our copy). In both editions 2 engravings are apparently missing (no. CLXX: “Eerste Bloemkrans” & no. CLXXII), but both illustrations are incorporated in the unnumb. engr. illustration on p. 84. “In 1679 Merian published the first volume of a two-volume series on caterpillars, the second volume followed in 1683 [..]. Merian documented evidence on the process of metamorphosis and the plant hosts of 186 European insect species. Along with the illustrations Merian included descriptions of their life cycles [..]. She observed the life cycles of insects over decades, thus she made detailed drawings based on live insects in their natural environment or freshly preserved specimens. This set her apart from previous artist-naturalists such as Conrad Gesner. Her drawings and engraved plates depict moths laying eggs, or caterpillars feeding on leaves. By drawing live insects Merian could accurately depict colours, as preserved specimens lose colour. The plates she eventually published are complex compositions. They are based on detailed studies she painted on vellum, many are preserved in her study journal. A comparison shows that she changed little and preserved the posture and colour of insects when placing them into the larger composition of her plates. In the course of her insect studies she also recorded and painted the reproductive cycle of flowers, from bud through fruit [..]. Merian depicted the physical differences between male and female adults, showed wings in different positions and the different colouring on each side of the wing. She also documented the extended proboscis of feeding insects [..]. Merian was the first to show that each stage of the change from caterpillar to butterfly depended on a small number of plants for its nourishment. She noted that as a consequence, the eggs were laid near these plants. In her description she commented on the environmental factors that influenced the growth of insects [..]. Among her most significant contribution to science is the pairing of each larval lepidopteran, which she observed with a plant on which it feeds” (cited from Wikipedia). ¶ Lacks the engr. frontispiece (as in most copies we have traced). Foot of spine & 1 raised band (sl.) dam., binding rubbed/ worn (19th-cent. chintz on both covers partly torn). Owner’s entry in blue ink on half-title, occ. sl. foxed/ browned (p. 84 & 1 plate worse), several leaves loosening and/or with traces of rusty paperclips in outer blank margin, a few plates sl. frayed in outer blank margin, but nevertheless in an acceptable condition (printed with wide margins, ca. 52 x 36,5 cm.).

€ 7.000,00
€ 9.000,00
€ 7.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 7.000

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