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Plantae Selectae

quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortis curiosorum nutrita manu artificiosa Doctaque pinxit Georgius Dionysius Ehret...

Stock Code 107704

[Augsburg], 1750-1773.

Original price $48,875.00 - Original price $48,875.00
Original price $0.00
$48,875.00
$48,875.00 - $48,875.00
Current price $48,875.00
One of the greatest 18th-century botanical books. One of the greatest eighteenth-century botanical books, with 100 fine hand-coloured plates after paintings by Georg Dionysius Ehret.

Georg Dionysius Ehret, the greatest botanical artist of the 18th century, was unrivalled in his ability to 'achieve realism, majesty, ineffable colour, all in one breathtak108342108342ing look' (Hunt). He was born in Heidelberg in 1710, and originally worked as a gardener, practising drawing in his spare time. His artistic abilities led him into the service of a Regensburg banker named Leskenkohl who had commissioned him to copy plates from van Rheede tot Draakestein's Hortus indicus malabaricus (1678-1693). It was during this period that Trew met Ehret.

'Trew was a Nuremberg physician, anatomist, and botanist who at various times served as dean of the medical school at Nuremberg, as an Imperial Counselor, and as personal physician to the Emperor. He was made a Pfalzgraf and served as a patron of botanical (and anatomical) illustrators, filling roughly the same position in Germany as that occupied by Sir Hans Sloane in England' (Cleveland Collections p.397). Trew was to remain a friend and patron of Ehret's throughout his life, and by 1742 the germ of what was to become the present publication was already under discussion when Trew wrote to Christian Thran in Carlsruhe 'Every year I receive some beautifully painted exotic plants [by Ehret] and have already more than one hundred of them, which with other pieces executed by local artists, should later on... constitute an appendicem to Weinmann's publication'.

Ehret moved to London in the late 1730's, where he painted the recently introduced exotics at the Chelsea Physic Garden and established himself as a teacher of flower-painting and botany. Discussions about the projected work continued by letter until in 1748 when Johann Jacob Haid of Augsburg agreed to produce the engravings from Ehret's drawings. The first part was published in 1750, with six subsequent parts appearing before Trew's death 1769. The text to the final three parts remained unwritten and the plates to parts IX and X were still to be produced. The work was bought to a conclusion by Benedict Christian Vogel, Professor of Botany at the University of Altdorf. This copy does not include the engraved general title, or the portrait of Vogel but this 'is normal when the decuria [or part] titles are present' (Johnston Cleveland Collections p.397), it does however include what appears to be a rare preliminary text leaf not called for by either Hunt or Stafleu & Cowan, but possibly listed by Johnston. The two columns of text in German and Latin on the recto are headed 'Avertissement'. The German text ends with Haid's name and the date June 1750. The conclusion of the Latin text is on the verso, again in two columns, and takes up about a third of the page. The remainder of the page is taken up by a list in Latin, in three columns, headed 'Index plantarum, quarum imagines pinxit D. Ehretus / suntque Norimbergae in Museo D.D. Trew' followed by a list of 240 individual plants.

10 parts in one volume; folio (510 x 345 mm), engraved title in red & black, 3 mezzotint portraits of Trew, Ehret and Haid, 100 fine hand-coloured engraved plates after Georg Dionysius Ehret by Johann Jakob & E.D. Haid, each with captions, minor spotting to margin of plate XXXIII, touching on image; [ii](title), [iv], 56, [2](index)pp.; contemporary mottled calf, boards with rolled gilt borders, spine gilt in seven compartments, with morocco label lettered in gilt, cobalt blue endpapers, spine a little rubbed, wear to edges and extremities, covers with a little damage, bound without the 10 divisional titles, a very good copy with plates clean and fresh.

Dunthorne 309; Hunt II, 539; Great Flower Books (1990), p.144; Nissen BBI 1197; Pritzel 9499; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 15.131.
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Plantae Selectae

TREW, Christoph Jakob.

Stock code: 107704

$48,875.00

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