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Albertus Seba. Cabinet of Natural Curiosities
Hardcover, slip case, 252 x 382 mm
Albertus Seba’s curious creatures: a most unusual collection of natural specimens
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 it was common for men of his profession to collect natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdambased pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665–1736) had a passion that led him far beyond the call of duty. His amazing, unprecedented 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 each and every specimen and arranged the publication of a four-volume catalog detailing his entire collection—from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, insects, butterflies and more, 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. Many of the stranger and more peculiar creatures from Seba’s collection, some of which are now extinct, were as curious to those in Seba’s day as they are to us now.
This reproduction is taken from a rare, hand-colored original. The introduction offers background information about the fascinating tradition of the cabinet of curiosities to which Seba’s curiosities belonged.
The authors: Irmgard Musch, born in 1967, studied art history, history and classical archaeology in Mainz and Berlin. Her Ph.D. thesis from 1999 examines Johann Jakob Scheuchzer’s Kupfer-Bibel, a richly illustrated scientific commentary on the Bible from the early 18th century. She has published on art of the 18th and 20th century, scientific illustrations and Kunstkammer pieces.
Rainer Willmann, born in 1950, occupies the chair of morphology, taxonomy and evolutionary biology at the Institute for Zoology and Anthropology of the University of Gottingen. In some 120 publications he has addressed the phylogeny of insects, snail evolution, and historical and theoretical issues in biology. He is co-founder of the Research Center for Biodiversity and Ecology at the University of Gottingen.
Jes Rust, born 1963, completed his studies in geology, palaeontology and zoology at Gottingen and Kiel. His thesis dealt with the evolution of fossil snails living in the fresh and brackish waters of prehistoric Greece. His assistantship at the Institute of Zoology in Gottingen between 1993 and 1999 was followed by his appointment in 2001 as professor of invertebrate palaeontology and insect phylogeny at the University of Bonn.
Muesch, IrmgardRust, JesWillmann, Rainer
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