KNORR, Georg Wolfgang.

Verlustiging der oogen en van den geest.


Verlustiging der oogen en van den geest.

Amsterdam, Heirs of F. Houttuyn, 1770-75.

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Finely coloured copy of a beautiful work on shells.

Though it does not adopt a scientific approach to its subject, this work by the Nuremberg painter Georg Knorr (1859 – 1911) remains one of the most beautiful artistic works on shells that exists to this day. This is its first edition in Dutch. The plates were drawn from collections in Holland and Germany including that of Martin Houttuyn, a doctor based in Amsterdam whose collection contained many rare species.

At this time Nuremberg was at the centre of Europe for finely illustrated natural history books. This was largely thanks to J. Trew, a wealthy physician who organised and encouraged a salon of artists and scientists; in fact, Knorr himself became a regular contributor, earning his first major success with illustrations of the solar system in Johannes Jacob Scheuzer’s Physica Sacra (1731-5). Many of the shells that Knorr depicted in Verlustiging der oogen en van den geest (sometimes translated as Pleasure for the eyes and mind in a general collection of shells and other creatures which are found in the sea) also came from Trew’s personal collection.


Six parts in 2 vol. 4to (26.1 x 20.5 cm). Six letterpress titles, with 190 hand-coloured engraved plates by J.A. Joninger, J.A. Eisenmann, A. Hoffer and others after Knorr, C. Dietsch, J. Wartenaar and others; occasional very light spotting, minor marginal staining to first part, light offsetting from last ten plates. Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spines, marbled edges; neatly rebacked preserving spines.

Provenance: G.J. Scheurleer (Twentieth century bookplate).


Cf. Dance Shell Collecting ‘Bibliography’ 156-157; Landwehr 96; Nissen ZBI 2236.


Stock ID: 85129