A very rare, broad-margined, suite of fine fish illustrations

Visscher, N. J.

Piscium vivae icones. Inventae ab Adriano Collardo et excusae a Nicolao Ioannis Visscher.

Published 1634
Item ID 70674

excl. VAT

[Amsterdam, N. J. Visscher], 1634. Oblong folio (20.1 x 30.3 cm). Engraved title page or frontispiece with title in cartouche, and 19 finely engraved plates [together numbered (1)-20], each with a print-size of 12.5 x 19.0 cm. Bound without covers.

A fine suite of fishes, marine mammals and several crustaceans, engraved by the Dutch engraver, mapmaker and publisher Claes Jansz Visscher (1587-1652), after Adriaen Collaert. Visscher (Fisher) was also known as Nicolas Joannes Piscator - an apt name, given the subject of this work. A coherent suite with strong impressions. Often such suites are found trimmed to the border and mounted; this one, however, has fine, broad margins, even wider than those of the copy in the British Museum (see the British Museum Research Collection online). In contrast with Collaert, who placed his fish in landscapes - as if stranded - Visscher "freed" his subject from picturesque settings and clutterings of irrelevant artefacts, and made the images more suitable for comparison and identification. The individual fishes, whales, crabs, turtles, and other animals (including a crocodile, and hermit crab), have captions with their Latin and Dutch names. The title page shows a fisherman in an allegorical setting, and the text "van Godt alleen" (from God only). Dean reports a copy with 26 plates and "without descriptions": evidently this is at odds with all other sources (e.g., OCLC). We found only two auction records in the last 70 years. Old ink inscription in the left margin of the title; title leaf and last plate edges slightly soiled, frayed, and partly chipped in the margins, much less frayed - if at all - in the others, and all as to be expected in such an unusually broad-margined copy. In all, a truly well-preserved suite. Rare. Dean III, p. 327; Nissen ZBI, 925 (under Collaert).

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