Folio, 4 volumes (400 x 245 mm. each), in full contemporary mottled calf, gilt panelled boards, with ribbed spines, each with ornate gilt decoration, compartments with ornate gilt ruling and central floral gilt design, each with marbled endpapers, red edges, extremities faintly rubbed. With four title page in Dutch printed in red and black and 1025 engraved and mezzotint plates, (plates 227, 354, 442-446, 448, 453, 500, 518, 737, 761 and 911 double-page), printed in colours and finished by hand. Lacking all the text, plates 659 and 660 with minor marginal finger-soiling, 968-970 with tiny nicks at fore-edge, 317 and 850 lightly stained at head. A very fine example.
A fine fresh and crisp example of one of the greatest botanical works. Johann Wilhelm Weinmann (1683-1741) was an apothecary from Regensburg. The ‘Phytanthoza Iconographia’, a record of his plant collection, was first published in Regensburg, 1737-1745. This Dutch edition was published contemporaneously. It is an excellent record of the flowers, fruit and vegetables of the early 18th century. This large project was financed by Bartholomäus Seuter who was one of the engravers too. The first edition was issued in parts, and this Dutch issue by the renowned botanist Jan Burman began to appear soon after. It utilised the same plates which according to Hunt was ‘the first botanical book to use colour-printed mezzotint successfully’ (Hunt, p.160). Martyn’s ‘Historia Plantarum Rariorum’, 1728, and the Society of Gardeners’ ‘Catalogus Plantarum’, 1730, pre-dated it but it is recognised as the first botanical book to use colour-printed mezzotint successfully (Hunt) and a great artistic and technical advance. The mezzotint process allowed delicate lines and fine detail to be depicted. Along with the addition of hand colour it enabled the finished product to be considered one of the finest in the botanical world.
Many plates are ‘of particular interest on account of the colour printing, especially the plates of Aloes and Cactus depicted in pots of different designs’ (Dunthorne). It is also renowned for the contribution of the great natural history artist Georg Dionysius Ehret, although they are unsigned. They are his very first botanical illustrations. Ehret served his apprenticeship as a botanical draughtsman for Weinmann who exploited him poorly. He reputedly paid him just 20 thaler for nearly 500 hundred drawings. It led to a rift between them. The engraving was done by Bartolomäus Seuter, Johann Ridinger and Johann Jakob Haid, who would later engrave Ehret’s plates for Trew’s ‘Plantae Selectae’. Arnold Arboretum I, 290; Brunet II, 704 (under Dietrichs); Dunthorne 327; Great Flower Books p. 80; cf Hunt 494; Nissen BBI 2126; Pritzel 10140; Stafleu and Cowan 17.050.