Wien, Kaiserlich-Königlichen Hof- und Staatsdruckerei [1855-1856]. Folio nature-printed plates (each 56.5 x 39.5 cm, circa 43 x 30 cm for printed area). With very wide, uniform margins.
This pair of matching plates (with Arum maculatum and A. italicum) is one of the most fantastic examples of nature printing, accompanied by very decorative botanical illustrations. Only nature printing can give a true 3D effect to a plate, and these are among the best ever made. The author and artist, Constantin Freiherr von Ettingshausen (1826-1897), was a professor of botany and major researcher of European fossil floras. He also had a great interest in nature printing, for its accuracy in transferring a real natural history object to an image on paper. Here, these interests were combined. The first plate with a single weak, diagonal fold in the upper right corner. Otherwise the plates are in very good condition, with only a few small and marginal imperfections, never disturbing the printed area. The complete work consisted of five folio atlases with over 500 plates. According to Staffleu and Cowan: "the most important work produced by nature printing ever published". Even individual plates, such as these, are very rare. Fischer, 69; Staffleu and Cowan, 1723.