DU MOLINET, Claude. Le cabinet de la Bibliothèque de Sainte-Geneviève. Divisé en deux parties. Contenant les antiquitez de la religion des Chrétiens, des Egyptiens, & des Romains, des tombeaux, des poids & des medailles; des monnoyes, des pierres antiques gravées, & des minéraux; des talismans, des lampes antiques, des animaux les plus rares et les plus singuliers, des coquilles les plus considérables, des fruits étrangers, & quelques plantes exquises. Paris, Antoine Dezallier, 1692.
First edition, a very rare large-paper copy, of Du Molinet’s attractive catalogue of his collection, which formed an annexe to the library of the Abbey of Sainte-Geneviève, Paris.
The first part of the work is devoted to antiquities: Christian, Egyptian and Roman; funerary objects; weights and measures; coins; medals; engraved gems; talismans and seals (including a section on Gnostic seals); and lamps.
The second part is devoted to natural history objects, divided amongst birds; animals; fish; fruits; plants; shells; stones; and minerals.
‘The arrangement of the collection is carefully described by du Molinet. Facing the entrance was an alcove with clothes and weapons from Persia, India and America and above this were ranged three tiers of urns, votive objects, lamps, sacrificial instruments and other antiquities. The alcove was flanked with two cupboards of petrifactions, Indian birds, animals and a collection of footwear from various countries, and above these “buffets” were further shelves of figures, Chinese vases, branches of red, white and black coral and other marine growths. The other three sides of the room contained a dozen walnut cabinets housing the medal collection, with an explanatory book listing over four hundred pieces in the large bronze series. The collection included Greek and Hebrew silver coins, Papal medals and those of the French Kings and other European monarchs, as well as jetons, talismans and coins from China, Japan, India, Siam and elsewhere.
‘Other cabinets contained scientific instruments, semi-precious stones and minerals, shells and rare animals and fishes. The walls were hung with paintings including a series of twenty-two pastel portraits of the Kings of France. Ertinger’s excellent plates illustrate the room which housed the collection and also two large views of the interior of the library, with a view of Paris through the open window’ (Grinke, From Wunderkammer to Museum, p. 28).
KLEIN, Jacob Theodor. Naturalis dispositio Echinodermatum. Accessit Lucubratiuncula de Aculeis Echinorum Marinorum cum Spicilegio de Belemnitis. Gdansk, Thomas Johannes Schreiber, 1734.
Large-paper copy of the first edition of Klein’s beautifully illustrated work on sea urchins, their fossil remains as well as belemnites from some of the most famous cabinets of natural curiosities of the time.
‘Klein’s Naturalis dispositio Echinodermatum(1734) was one of the earliest monographic treatments of the sea urchins' (DSB).
The final two pages of text contain a ‘conspectus’ of a Wunderkammer, detailing the cabinets’ contents, and their divisions. The superb plates, many engraved by Georg Wolfgang Knorr, depict specimens from a number of collections, including that of the important natural scientist Johann Heinrich von Horcher, who created various cabinets of natural curiosities at Dresden, the Danzig lawyer Nathanael Jacob Gerlach, the Lutheran theologian and historian Michael Lilienthal from Königsberg, member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and honorary professor of the University of St. Petersburg, the famous naturalist Johann Georg Gmelin, the Königsberg physicist and teacher of Immanual Kant, Johann Gottfried Teske, the Leipzig pharmacist and naturalist Johann Heinrich Linck, the influential Leipzig alderman and collector Johann Christoph Richter, the Leipzig mathematician Christian August Hausen, known for his research on electricity, as well as examples from a number of other sources.
VALENTIJN, François. Abhandlung von Schnecken, Muscheln und Seegewächsen, welche um Amboina und den umliegenden Inseln gefunden warden. Als ein Anhang zu Georg Eberhard Rumphs Amboinischen Raritätenkammer … Vienna, Krauss, 1773.
A very rare German rendition and the and only separate edition of the Dutch supplement of 1754 to Valentyn’s Oud en nieuw Oost Indien, vol. III (1726).
It was published as an appendix to Rumpf’s D’Amboinsche Rariteitkamer (1705). Valentijn had lived in the East Indies for 16 years, where became a friend of the German naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumpf (1627-1702), the pioneer researcher of the natural history of the Dutch East Indies.
Rumpf’s D’Amboinsche Rariteitkamer is largely devoted to the conchology of Amboina, and is famous for its fine engravings of shells, reputedly the work of Maria Sibylla Merian. This edition was translated by Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller, professor of natural history at Erlangen and member of the Akademie der Naturforscher.
Apart from the odd mermaid, the plates are exclusively conchological and very finely engraved.