Amsterdam, Jansson-Waesberg, J. Wetsteen and William Smith, 1734. Large folio (59.0 x 49.5 cm). Double-sized engraved plate.
A fine herpetological plate from one of the most splendid and largest natural history works from the mid-18th century, fully titled: Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio et iconibus artificiosissimus expressio per universam physices historiam. Opus, cui, in hoc rerum genere, nullum par exstisit. Ex toto terrarum orbe collegit, digessit, descripsit, et depingendum curavit Albertus Seba, Etzela Oostfrisius, Academiae Caesareae Leopoldino Carolinae Naturae Curiosorum collega xenocratus dictus; Societatis Regiae Anglicanae, et Instituti Bonensis, sodalis. Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, as it is generally known, is regarded as one of the 18th century's greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time. Though it was common for men of his profession to collect natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665-1736), who made a fortune working for the VOC (Dutch East India Company), had a passion that led him far beyond the call of duty. His collection of natural history objects was displayed in four very large volumes, which are now very rare. This plate shows a the development of frog eggs into tadpoles and then into adult frogs (Figs 1-15), as well as the supposed transition of a frog-like animal into a fish (Figs 16-22) - a curious and interesting mix of accurate scientific observations and of speculative pseudoscience. Slight fraying to the very outer margins; a few small, weak spots; weak central, vertical fold; the left margin a bit uneven from previous binding; otherwise a very good, clean copy. Landwehr, 178; Nissen ZBI, 3793.