Amsterdam, F. Houttuyn, 1761-1785. Three sections in 37 volumes. 8vo (21.2 x 13.3 cm) [22.1 x 13.6 cm]. Text and 296 finely hand-coloured engraved plates. Contemporary uniform mottled half calf over marbled boards; spine with gilt-rolled bands and red and green morocco labels with gilt title.
A complete set - in the very rare originally coloured edition - of the main Dutch natural history encyclopedia of the 18th century compiled by the Dutch medical doctor and naturalist Martinus - or Maarten - Houttuyn (1720-1798) and often referred to as the Linnaeus Houttuyn edition. The three sections are divided as follows: section I: Zoology in 18 volumes with 143 plates; section II: Botany in 14 volumes with 105 plates, illustrating 275 species of plants and "including well over 100 new species of plants"; section III: Minerals in five volumes with 48 plates. As noted by Stafleu, "The taxonomic part of the book is extremely detailed and contains a wealth of incidental information not brought together in this form elsewhere", not even by Linnaeus himself". Bindings a bit rubbed, a few joints and inner hinges starting; some fraying at spine tops; some mostly marginal dampstaining, mainly to to zoology volumes 3 and 16, and botany volume 12; a few plates bound different from the binder's instructions, namely: plate V in zoology volume 1 placed opposite p. 353 instead of 337; plate XXI in zoology vol. 2 placed opposite p. 449 instead of 499; plate C in botany vol. 13 placed opposite p. 225 instead of 205. Some bindings with tiny head or tail problems, but generally the bindings are in a good state. Apart from these minor deviations a fine and complete set. The original colouring is excellent. An attractive set regarding both the bindings and contents. Uncoloured sets in this good state are rare; an originally hand-coloured set like this one is very rare. See Nissen ZBI, 2011; Soulsby, 73; Stafleu Linnaeus and the Linnaeans; Stafleu and Cowan, 3080; Vanzolini, pp. 1-2.