Friday, May 13, 2011
1) Seba, Albertus. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. 2011. Taschen. Hardbound: 415 pages. Price: $39.99 U.S.
SUMMARY: Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the 18th century's greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time. Though scientists of his era often collected natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665-1736) was unrivaled in his passion. His amazing collection of animals, plants and insects from all around the world gained international fame during his lifetime. In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned illustrations of every specimen and arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog–from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, birds, and butterflies, as well as fantastic beasts, such as a hydra and a dragon.
Seba's scenic illustrations, often mixing plants and animals in a single plate, were unusual even for the time. The more peculiar creatures from the collection–some of them now extinct–were as curious in Seba's day as they are today.
This reproduction is taken from a rare, hand-colored original. The introduction supplies background information about the fascinating tradition to which Seba's curiosities belonged.
RECOMMENDATION: A must have for those that collect early natural history books and/or art! This multilingual edition comes in English, French, and German.