Vorstellung der Vögel Deutschlandes und beyläufig auch einiger Fremden... in Kupfer gebracht, und nach ihren natürlichen Farben dargestellt von Ferdinand Helfreich Frisch...

Eur 125,000 / USD 137,500
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Berlin, Friedrich Wilhelm Birnstiel, [1733-] 1763. 2 volumes. Folio (375 x 240 mm). ff. 103, including 25 divisional titles, with engraved portrait-frontispiece and 255 hand-coloured engraved plates. Contemporary calf, richly decorated spines with red gilt lettered labels, sides with gilt borders, gilt edges.

"One of the most enjoyable of all bird books but rare" (Fine Bird Books p. 76).

First edition, an exceptionally clean and fine copy, complete with the Supplement, of the first great German colour-plate bird book. "One of the most enjoyable of all bird books but rare" (Fine Bird Books p. 76). The plates feature European and exotic birds, including a number of parrots, drawn from the family collection of preserved specimens. The plates were drawn and engraved by the author's sons Ferdinand Helfreich and Philipp Jakob; Johann Christoph, the author's grandson, executed the final 30 plates, and also engraved the portrait-frontispiece after a design by B. Rode. The original drawings are preserved in the Jacob Moyat collection in the Stadtbibliothek in Mainz. "The birds are divided into 12 classes and the plates, which contain altogether 307 figures, are accompanied by a brief text divided according to the classes into sections, the subtitles of which open with the words 'Kurtze Nachricht' or 'Fortsetzung einer kurtzen [kurzen] Nachricht'. After the death of J.L. Frisch the publication was continued by his sons, of whom Just Leopold Frisch prepared the text, assisted, chiefly at the end, by Baron Friedrich August von Zorn, who also compiled the comprehensive index..." (Anker).
Johann Leonhard Frisch (1666-1743) was a theologian, naturalist, and philologist specialising in Slavic languages; he taught Leibnitz Russian, and the latter had him elected to the Berlin Academy of Sciences. He is credited with the discovery of Prussian blue, and also with introducing sericulture to Germany; he planted mulberry trees around the walls of Berlin from which were produced a hundred pounds of silk. Published over a period of 30 years complete copies are very rare.

Provenance: Last free endpaper with small stamp at foot 'Aus der National-Biliothek in Wien als Doublette ausgeschieden am 11.1.49'.

Anker 155; Fine Bird Books 76 (with 3 stars); Nissen IVB, 339; Ripley 102; Wood p. 349.