NOVÆ FLORUM ICONES

Hujus generis atrium cultoribus perutiles, maximâ curâ deliniatæ, et tabulis æneis incisæ. Ex Officina Nicol: Visscher.

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A series of 16 copper engravings, numbered lower right, 257 x 175 mm, within the borders c. 229 x 146 mm.

The only other copy known is in the British Museum

The only other copy known is in the British Museum, London, Department Prints and Drawings, location 1161.c.25, registration number 1937, 0915.449.37-53. The 16 plates are reported on a website, without illustrations, with Nicolaes Visscher II [1649-1702 = Nicolaes Visscher III] as the publisher and dated c. 1670-1700. Dimensions c. 230 x 145 mm [within the borders]. Bound in an album of ornamental prints. Transferred from British Library in 1937. Several of the flowers are copied in a British series published by John Overton in London in a slightly larger size (247 x 164 mm), without a title; see Hollstein p. 286).

A series with the identical title 'Novae...incisae', has been published under 'Amstelodamum Renard 1650', is in the Bavarian State Library, published as an e-book with two different physical descriptions: "45 Platten" [plates] and "[30] Bl.: nur III". The e-book can be ordered via the website. It needs further research to know if this is a similar or an identical series, and if the series is complete and the other 29 plates are by the same hand or by different hands.

These data give a confusing view on the artist and publisher as well as the date of publication and its content and eventual other series or prints. Another complication is a better known version or copy of the same prints conversed by Jeronimus Falck (c. 1617 - Gdansk - 1677), published in Hamburg in 1662 as well as by Frederick de Wit in Amsterdam 1662, most probably after the series by Nicolaes Visscher, named 'Novae et exquisitae florum icones. Hujus generis atrium cultoribus perutiles, maxima cura delineatae et tabulis aenaeis incisae per Jeremiam Falck Hamburgi ano 1662', and the same with a text below: ''t Amsterdam gedruckt bij Frederick de Wit in de Kalverstraat bij den Dam in de Nieue Paskaert' (1). The series shows 12 plates of the 16 by Visscher, inverse and less subtle executed, but at least one copy has 4 plates by another hand added, perhaps later, but all numbered. The other series is named 'Verscheydene Nieuwe Tulpen, en andere Bloemen / Novae et exquisitae Florum Icones', a series of 16 prints with Jeremias Falck as the inventor and Frederick de Widt as the publisher, probably a later edition of an original from the last quarter of the seventeenth century. Both series have been seen in auctions during the last 60 years (2).

References
Hollstein Text, vol. XXXVIII, Roosendaal & Amsterdam 1991, p. 286, nos. 89-104 [without locations], and vol. XXXIX, p. 238 the illustration of the title page. An unpublished typescript by M. Simon on works by Claes Jansz Visscher of 1958 lists the items with own numbers, see under concordance (taken from Hollstein) and literature.
Bridson & White 1990, p. 43, no. C63: "Visscher, Nikolaas J.? [ca. 1625] Novae florum icones. Amsterdam, L. Renard. 2° 2 ; pts. Eng. t.p. & 11+12[?] pl. **Ref. Warner & Brown p. 851. Suites of prints. The first part has unnumbered plates; the second part comprises 12 [or 10] plates, printed on 6 [or 5] sheets. (Warner & Brown describe a copy which has only plates 1-8, 1-12 in the second part.) Cf: Univ. cat. p. 570 (as Flores. - Novae...); BM cat. v9 p. 468 (sa: Flores Novae...1680? 16 pl.)." See under literature.

The author and publisher
Three seventeenth-century publishers in Amsterdam are named Nicolaes Visscher. Number I is known as Claes Jansz Visscher (1587-1652). He originally illustrated maps from other publishers and started to publish his own atlases, historical- and genre prints, landscapes and portraits, and had an art gallery. He also published four (rare) series of flower still-lifes: after Adriaen Collaert c. 1612, after Giovanni Battista Rosso, and two by his own hand, one dated 1640, next to other copies of flower pots after Elias Verhulst, Johan Mer (1609), Adriaen Collaert (1609, 1616 and 1635), Jan Baptist Jacops and Jacob Savery (3).
Other engravers, like Peter Schenk, worked after Claes Jansz Visscher. Nicolaes Visscher II (1618-1679) was a son of Claes Jansz and is sometimes referred as Nicolaes I. He worked in his father's workshop and took it over after his death. He is most known for his atlases and town views, partly copied from others. Nicolaes Visscher III (1649-1702) was a son and follower of Nicolaes II, but is sometimes referred as Nicolaes II. He also published atlases and historical prints, partly after others.

It is most likely that the series by Nicolaes Visscher is published in or about 1650 in the print room of Claes Jansz Visscher. We don't know yet, however, if the series published that year in Amsterdam with the identical name is the same. The series published by Falck is, most probably, a copy after the Visscher series. It contains 12 plates in reverse, and 4 completely different plates. The copy might be after an incomplete series of 12 plates, as in the Cincinnati copy, the other four added to make it 16. The Bavarian album of 45 plates is, most probably, a combination with one or more different series. It is not completely certain if Claes Jansz is the inventor of the series or his son Nicolaes II in his father's print room, but that is most likely, because his father usually printed his name as 'Claesz J' or the like.

The series
1. Title within a wreath of flowers, clockwise from lower centre:
Damask Rose (Rosa x damascena); Persian Tulip hybrid (Tulipa clusiana hybrid) (with different leaves); Poppy Anemone (Anemone coronaria); Eranthis (Eranthis hyemalis); Hollyhock (Alcea rosea semiplena); Meadow Cranesbill (Geranium pratense); Anulated Sowbread (Cyclamen hederifolium); Red Lily (Lilium bulbiferum); Orange Lily (Lilium bulbiferum)
2. Provins Rose (Rosa x provincialis) 3x
3. A nosespray of flowers; Kurdistan Tulip hybrids (Tulipa stapfii hybrid) 2x; white Snake Head's Fritilary (Fritillaria meleagris alba); full Primrose Pearless (Narcissus x intermedius plenus)
4. Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus plenus) lower left; Liverwort (Hepatica nobilis) 3x; Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) top
5. French Rose (Rosa gallica duplex) lower left; Peony (Paeonia officinalis plena) upper left; Prikneus (Lychnis coronaria) upper right; Florentine Iris ( Iris x florentina) lower right
6. Incomparabilis Narcissus (Narcissus x incomparabilis) lower left; Poppy Anemone (Anwmone coronaria plena) mid left; Poppy Anemone (Anemone coronaria) upper left; Kurdistan Tulip hybrid (Tulipa stapfii hybrid) upper right; Italian Clematis (Clematis viticella) mid right; Poppy Anemone (Anemone coronaria pseudoplena) lower right
7 Alpine Clematis (Clematis alpina) lower left; Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) mid left; French Marigold (Tagetes patula) upper left; Red Turban Cap Lily (Lilium chalcedonicum) upper right; Liverwort (Hepatica nobilis) mid right; Martagon Lily (Lilium martagon) lower right
8. Pansy (Viola tricolor) 8x; Poppy Anemone (Anemone coronaria striata) centre; Spanish Broom (Spartium junceum) upper right
9. unknown lower left; Greater Jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) left and top; Liverwort (Hepatica nobilis) 2x top; Red Turban cap Lily (Lilium chalcedonicum) lower right
10. unknown lower left; Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) upper right; Persian Tulip hybrid (Tulipa clusiana hybrid) upper right; Spanish Iris (Iris xiphium) lower right
11. Poppy Anemone (Anemone coronaria striata) lower left; Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculus acris) 2x; Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascene duplex) top; Tazetta Narcissus (Narcissus tazetta) lower right
12. Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris duplex) lower left; Liverwort (Hepatica nobilis) 2x top; Snake's Head Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris) top; German Flag (Iris germanica) lower right
13. Persian Tulip hybrid (Tulipa clusiana hybrid) lower left; Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) upper right (with rose leaves); Brown Daylily (Hemerocallis fulva) upper right; Primrose Pearless (Narcissus x intermedius)
14. Orange Lily (Lilium bulbiferum)
15. French Rose (Rosa gallica) lower left; Crown Anemone (Anemone x fulgens) upper left; Yellow Daylily (Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus) upper right; Lesser Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) lower right
16. White Narcissus (Narcissus poeticus duplex) 3x; Full Campernelle Narcissus (Narcissus x odorusplenus) 3x; unknown centre; Stock (Matthiola incana); White Narcissus (Narcissus poeticus plenus) upper right

Concordance of the numbers from Visscher, Hollstein, the list of Simon, and the Jeremias Falck publication of 1662

V H S F (all inverse)
1 89 287 1
2 90 288 2
3 91 289 -
4 92 290 10
5 93 291 11
6 94 292 - different
7 95 293 4
8 96 294 - different
9 97 295 13
10 98 296 3
11 99 297 6
12 100 298 12
13 101 299 7
14 102 300 8
15 103 301 9
16 104 302 - different

F nos. 5, 14, 15 and 16 different.

Literature
Gavin D.R. Bridson & James J. White, Plant, Animal & Anatomical Illustration in Art & Science - A Biographical Guide from the 16th Century to the Present, Winchester 1990.
Christiaan Schuckman, in Hollstein's Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 145-1700 - Claes Jansz Visscher to Claesz. Claesz Visscher II (Nicolaes Visscher II), vols. XXXVIII and XXXIX, as Hollstein.
M. Simon, Claes Jansz. Visscher, Freiburg im Breisgau 1959, TYPESCRIPT.
Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, An Oak Spring Flora, Upperville (Virginia) 1997.
Marjorie F.Warner & Janice S. Brown, 1939. Early horticultural literature - A checklist of works published in the16th, 17th and 18th centuries with other materials for the history and bibliography of horticulture. Washington DC. TYPESCRIPT of an alphabetical author catalogue with an alphabetical title index, the latter also including full catalogue entries for anonymous works. Together with a prefatory "Critical report on its aims, failures, and possibilities" by the senior author in 1945. The original report in the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library, Washington DC. Bound photocopy in the Library of the Hunt Institute in Pittsburgh. [ii]+15+911+143 ff.

(1) E.g., Rachel Mellon collection, Upperville (Virginia), 12 plates, see Tongiorgi 1997, pp. 82-84 no. 19, the title page illustrated; Umeå University Library, 16 plates; with Junk, Amsterdam 1986 cat. 239 no. 177 and Quaritch, London, cat. 1062 no. 20; cf. Bridson & White 1990, p. 46 no. C101 and C102; Warner & Brown 1939, p. 273; and British Museum cat. vol. 8, p.1257. See under concordance.
(2) E.g., Umeå University Library; and Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 16 June 1998, lot no. 176. Frederick de Wit also as Widt.
(3) Complete data in typescript for a publication on flower still-lifes in print.

With thanks to Sam Segal who catalogued above item.

Condition: The impressions are strong and clear. Considering the extraordinary rarity of the item the condition is quite good. Plate 1: One small tear and another slightly larger one going into the plate mark; Plate 2: Missing part of left margin not affecting the plate mark; Plate 3: Missing small part of right margin not affecting the plate mark, brown old spot in the middle of image; Plate 5: Small damage to left upper corner not affecting the illustration; Plate 12: Tear at the lower margin affecting the plate mark, small marginal loss at the upper left corner not affecting the plate mark.
A few plates have their names added in old writing.