Antwerpen, [ca. 1612]. Oblong 8vo (18.8 x 12.4 cm). 19 beautiful contemporarily hand-coloured engravings including the engraved title page depicting Orpheus charming and taming the birds and beasts of the forest. All are mounted on contemporary paper and nicely framed in five sections in a tortoise-shell setting.
An exceptional suite in a contemporary coloured state. Of the 19 plates, only 2 have the normally present numbering and engraved signature: "Adrian. Collaert fecit et excud". The other 16 are most probably some sort of proof prints before letters and numbers, which is very unusual and completely unknown in any bibliography; the leading expert, Sam Segal, whom we consulted, also knew nothing of it. He also confirmed the contemporary colouring, all done in the same brilliant hand. Nissen quotes an engraved title and 19 engravings; therefore we are lacking one plate only, which makes this an almost complete set of the already very rare suite of the animalium. The plates depict men (mostly in hunting scenes), apes, cows, bulls, horses, lions, dogs, camels, goats, deer, pigs, elephants, wolves, rhinoceroses, a chameleon, etc. - one of the nicest sets of engravings on animals from this great Flemish artist. A few plates with an old, small, repaired tear and one with a tiny damaged spot in the image, some of the mounts with old paper repairs, but overall in very good condition, with great vibrant colouring, some heightened with gold. Nissen ZBI, 924; Wood 293. Bridson & White, Animal and Anatomical Illustration in Art & Science, D61 only quotes numbered and signed suites of prints.