Berlin, [not published], 1767. Folio (37.3 x 24.3 cm). Decorative water colour title page, manuscript text within a garland of flowers and insects, and 86 water-colour plates of plants, manuscript index leaf at the end. Preserved in modern marbled clamshell box.
A beautiful original manuscript of foreign, mostly exotic, useful and medicinal plants. The fine watercolours are heightened with gouache and are numbered 1-53a, 53b-85, and inscribed with their Latin names. At the lower margin the Linnaean nomenclature is given with reference to his 'Genera Plantarum'. The index leaf lists a plate 86, Euphorbia, which is not present and presumably perished. The manuscript portrays many flowering or seed-bearing plants of medical or agricultural importance: Jamaican pepper, cashew, cacao, camphor tree, caper, cardamom, cloves, quinine bark, China root, Arabian coffee, bitter cucumber, Indian saffron, date palm, Indian fig (the tree is considered sacred in India as it often shelters a little temple underneath), dwarf ginseng, tree-of-life, indigo, nutmeg, opium, Indian pepper, black pepper, St. John's bread, Indian date, vanilla plant, poison nut - many originating from India. On one plate, the nettle, the butterfly Papilio atalanta L. and its caterpillar, which specifically occurs on this plant, are illustrated. The frontispiece shows more colourful insects including butterflies and beetles, as well as flowering plants. Andreas Friedrich Happe (1733-1802) was a well-known artist, engraver, and naturalist as well as a pharmacist. He was born in Aschersleben and died in Berlin in 1802. He published a number of books on pharmaceutical botany of which the most important is his 'Botanica pharmaceutica
' Berlin 1785 (-1806). He was also the artist for the plates of the first two volumes of Martini & Chemnitz 'Neues systematisches Conchylien-Cabinet'. However, he is better known for his botanical artwork. The Oak Spring Garden Library has a four volume 'Herbarium pictum', an impressive collection of 403 watercolours. The Hunt Botanical Library possesses a manuscript by him: 'Flora Happiana', with 471 watercolours. The Amsterdam bookseller Junk sold a manuscript of Happe in 1997: 'Insecten-Belustigung. Worinnen eine Sammlung sowohl Ausländischer als Einheimischer Tag-Vögel, Abend- und Nacht-Vögel enthalten nach dem Leben gezeichnet von Andr. Frid. Happe. Berlin 1769-1784', with a fine frontispiece (title within a garland of flowers), and 133 original watercolours. In 2008, a large collection of original watercolours by Happe - 'Conspectus Praecipuarum Plantarum
' Berlin 1790-1794, with 1146 original watercolours - was offered by the Parisian bookseller Thomas-Scheler. The Latin captions have some ink bleeding. Three plates with marginal repair. A unique and interesting collection, not recorded by any bibliographer. For similar works see: An Oak Spring Herbaria, 39; and Hunt, 659.