Amsterdam, Johann Christian Sepp, 1776. 4to (30.3 x 24.3 cm). Five printed titles in Latin, Dutch, German, English and French, five introduction leaves in these languages; 50 leaves of text (including ten subtitles), describing plates 1-68. With 98 (of 100) beautifully hand-coloured engraved plates. Contemporary interim blue boards, with handwritten title on front cover.
A very fine, large and uncut copy of the most beautiful book ever published on marbles. The present copy is one of the most complete copies to appear on the market. The work was first published at Nuremberg in 1775, with text in German and Latin. For this Amsterdam edition published by Sepp - the most famous Dutch natural history publisher in the 18th century - French, Dutch, and English were added. According to Landwehr "...it is one of the best-executed publications of Christian Sepp". The work was published in issues, and copies with more than 70 plates are rare. Brunet reports 98 plates in the most extensive copy of the first edition known to him (i.e., as many as in our copy). "Magnificent, outstanding color-plate book of the Mineral Kingdom, depicting an almost infinitely-varied series of marbles and allied ornamental stones from deposits in Germany and nearby countries. Presumably each of the rectangular panels represents the appearance of a polished slab, with most plates depicting six such pieces, but others two, four, and as many as nine. While one is immediately captivated by the richness and depth of the watercoloring, often heightened by the application of opaque white for veinlets, it can be seen that under each painting lies a complex, lightly-incised network of lines, almost like rouletting, over which the colors have been laid" (Sinkankas 7281). The text is by S. C. Schmidel, who had earlier published a colour plate volume on mineral specimens. The plates are by Adam Ludwig Wirsing (1753-1797), who was a publisher, engraver and art dealer in Nuremberg specializing in natural history. He engraved plates for some of the most lavish German natural history works, such as Trew's Hortus nitidissimus, Schaeffer's Fungorum.., and many others. Spine with recent skilful paper repair, otherwise a fine, clean copy. Landwehr, 1; Sinkankas, 7281-7282.; Brunet V, col. 1465; IV, col. 1243 (98 plates).