Sea Serpent Natrix Snakes
Amsterdam: 1657. Leaf. Folio, handcolored copper engraving (ca.20 x 33cm) from Historia Naturalis. Near Fine. Item #389
This superbly engraved and hand-colored engraved leaf is from the equally fine Amsterdam edition of Historiae naturalis. It was first published beginning in 1655, a few years after the first edition from Frankfurt am Main (1650-53). The six-part edition of Historiae naturalis was created by Dr. John Jonston and engraved by Matthaeus Merian the younger, Caspar Merian, and others. Other parts published in successive years included de quadrupedibus; de piscibus et cetis; de exanguibus; de avibus; & de serpentibus.
The Historiae naturalis is considered by many to have the best insect and other natural history pictures of the period.
Complete editions cost from $10,000 to nearly $20,000.
Matthew Merian, "the Elder" (1593-1650) was a Swiss-born copper engraver who worked in Strassbourg, Nancy, and Paris; then settled in Frankfort, during the latter part of his life. There, he and his son Matthew "the Younger" (1621-87) worked for the publishing house of Theodor de Bry, son of a famous engraver. The Merians are highly respected for detailed maps and other precise delineation in Topographia Germaniae, Grand Voyages, and this Historiae naturalis.
John Johnston (1603-75), was of Scottish ancestry, though born in Poland. He was very well educated in medicine at St. Andrews, Cambridge, and Leiden. He published major studies of natural history, for example, the compendius Thaumatographia Naturalis (1632), and Theatrum Universale Omnium Animalium (Frankfort, 1650).
[Note: we grade conservatively and endeavor to identify any defects that might affect overall quality and price.].