Diversae Insectarum Volatilium icones ad vivum accuratissimè depictae per celeberrimum pictorem.
(Amsterdam), Nicolao Ioannis Visscher, 1630. Oblong-4to (230 x 187mm). 16 engraved plates (including the title-page). (Together with:) LE ROY, H. Le Jardin des Sauterelles et Papillions ensemble la diversité des Mouches. Paris no date, probably before 1635. 15 engravings (including the title-page). The title has been loosely inserted and the others have been mounted in pairs. Later half vellum, marbled sides.
(I) First edition of one of the earliest works dealing exclusively with insects. Jacob Hoefnagel (1575-ca.1630) was the son of the famous Georg Hoefnagel (1545-1600), an Antwerp artist employed by the dukes of Bavaria and latterly making illustrations of botanical and zoological specimens in the cabinet of the Emperor Rudolph II, at Prague. Jacob was an engraver who learned the craft by engraving copies of his father's paintings. "A pattern or copy-book for artists, displaying on sixteen plates about 340 insects, mostly larger than life. According to Bonnanni's 'Micrographia Curiosa', published in 1691, a form of microscope was used in the preparation of some of the drawings for this book, but as the drawings in question were made before 1592, it is more likely a single convex lens and not a compound instrument was employed. Wedderburn, 'Quatuor Problematum' (Padua 1619), reports how Galileo had used his telescope to magnify the parts of insects, and this at present is the earliest certain account we have of the use of a microscope" (Goldschmidt Cat. 165, no. 76). Nevertheless, the pictures in Jacob Hoefnagel's 'Diversae Insectarum' "unmistakably indicate the use of the magnifying glass. So far as known, the pictures of Hoefnagel are the earliest printed figures of magnified objects" (Locy, The Story of Biology, p. 199). The 16 beautiful engravings depict 37 Coleoptera, 22 Orthoptera, 14 Odonata, 16 Neuroptera, 72 Lepidoptera, 35 Hymenoptera, 78 Diptera, 21 Hemiptera, and 7 larvae; all together 302 insects, with the exception of two all belonging to the insect-fauna of central- and north Germany. The present work is one of the greatest entomological rarities and as Hagen already indicates in 1862, he had only seen one copy offered during the last 20 years. A good copy with strong and clear impressions printed on strong paper. (II) "Le Jardin de Sauterelle et Papillons" (The Garden of grasshoppers and butterflies) is probably the rarest suite of engravings on insects. Henri le Roy (1579-1652) was a Parisian engraver. Very few copies, complete as the present one survived. The British Museum has a complete copy which comes from the collection of Hans Sloane (1660-1753) whose huge collection of books and natural history materials formed the basis of the British Museum. The fifteen engraved plates show individual flowers, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, dragonflies, snail and various other insects. The title-page shows 2 figures, a male and a female, holding a drape, surrounded by insects. The date of publication is unknown. The work was probably intended to serve as a pattern book for craftsmen working in the decorative arts such as embroidery or metalwork. Huzard only had 11 engravings, see 'Catalogue des livres' 4225. Horn & Schenkling 18599 list a copy with 6 plates. Wilhelm Junk in his catalogue 'Bibliographia Lepidopterologica' of 1913 lists a copy with 7 plates. Small gallery of worming at the inner margin of the last 9 leaves of the Hoefnagel and the first 2 leaves of the Le Roy, not affecting the engravings. Engraved title of Le Roy with some slight damage not affecting the illustration. Provenance: armorial bookplate, probably of Pierre Dupont (circa 1577-1640) with 'Mediis tranquillus in undis' (Calm in the midst of waves). In manuscript below 'A Paris en la Gallerie du Louvre 1635' and above 'Livre 56 des insects contenant 89f ; pour Pierre Dupont '. The text is partly illegible. Most likely the book was part of the library of Pierre Dupont's 'Gallerie du Palais du Louvre' famous for its fine tapestries and the engravings served as examples for his tapestry designs. (I) Nissen ZBI, 1995; Hollstein IX, p. 46; Ford, Images of Science p. 51 (showing 2 plates). (II) Horn & Schenkling 18599.
Item nr. 9867
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