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Nikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin (1727-1817), Selectarum stirpium Americanarum historia...

  • $ 8,500.00

Nikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin (1727-1817)

Selectarum stirpium Americanarum historia...

ViennaJoseph Kurtböck for Kraus1763

Folio, (14 ⅝ x 9 ⅝ inches). Half-title, fine engraved allegorical frontispiece title page, vignette title page, Dedication, head and tail pieces (first blanks creased, some spotting). Fine folding engraved plate, 183 full-page engravings (lower corner of plate 44 torn away not affecting image, plates 82-83 and 111-118 browned). Near contemporary half tan calf, drab boards, the smooth spine in 6 gilt-ruled compartments, red morocco gilt lettering piece in one (a bit spotted, joints and extremities rubbed, some loss at corners).

Provenance: Armorial bookplate to front pastedown (“Corn: Henr: Â Roy. Medicinae Doctor. Heritage Auctions, 2015, sale 6148, lot 45194. All but the first 12 plates with Latin names supplied in neat contemporary manuscript captions.


First edition. The 184 engraved plates after Jacquin “are excellent for the period” (Zimmer). “Jacquin’s first major publication and his first illustrated work is based on his travels to the West Indies, 1755 and 1759” (De Belder). The additional engraved frontispiece-title shows two Native Americans holding up a banner containing a map of the West Indies, surrounded by Caribbean flowering plants and animals, and the title within a ribbon. The engraved title vignette depicts colonists arriving on a Caribbean island in a stormy sea.

“In 1754, at the age of 27, a botanist born in Leiden, Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin, made his first expedition to Central America. He was collecting seeds and plants for the Imperial gardens at Schonbrunn in Vienna. He took with him his Dutch head gardener and two Italian zoologists, and initially they concentrated on Grenada, Martinique, and Domingo, then under the control of the French. Von Jacquin sent the others home, in succession, laden with plants, but was himself captured by the British and kept prisoner for over a year. On his release, he remained in America, visiting Cuba and Jamaica to collect more plants before returning to Vienna in 1759. His books are among the finest of the period: ‘Selectarum stirpium Americanarum historia’ was first published in 1763” [as here] (Martyn Rix, “The Golden Age of Botanical Art,” p. 114).Stafleu and Cowan call this book “an important complement to the 1760 ‘Enumeratio’ and should always be consulted with it.”

“Ants damaged Jacquin’s herbarium material, and he therefore supplemented his descriptions and notes on the new species with watercolor drawings” (Blunt and Stearn, p. 175), on which these engravings are based. Dunthorne 148. Hunt 579. Nissen BBI 979. Pritzel 4362. Sabin 35521. Stafleu & Cowan TL2 3243.


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