Johann Wilhelm Weinmann | [Phytanthoza iconographia, Dutch edition], Amsterdam, 1736-1748, fine engraved and mezzotint plates, printed in colours and finished by hand

£ 48 260
Auction date Classic
28.11.2023 14:00 UTC +00:00
Event location
United Kingdom, London
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ID 1076612
Lot 89 | Johann Wilhelm Weinmann | [Phytanthoza iconographia, Dutch edition], Amsterdam, 1736-1748, fine engraved and mezzotint plates, printed in colours and finished by hand
Johann Wilhelm Weinmann

[Phytanthoza iconographia] Duidelyke Vertoning, Eeniger Duizend in alle vier waerelds deelen wassende Bomen, Stammen, Kruiden, Bloemen, Vrugten, en Uitwassen. Amsterdam: Zacharias Romberg, 1736-48

First Dutch edition, 4 volumes, folio (405 x 255mm.), volume 1 with mezzotint allegorical frontispiece of Ceres and mezzotint portraits of Weinmann and Bieler, all printed in blue, 1,025 ENGRAVED AND MEZZOTINT PLATES, (14 double-page, two folding) ALL PRINTED IN COLOUR AND FINISHED BY HAND by B. Seuter, J. E. Ridinger and J. J. Haid after G. D. Ehret, N. Asamin, and others (373 plates signed “S” [for Seuter] and 273 signed “H” [for Haid]). Seven (of eight) letterpress titles printed in red and black with engraved vignettes, two-page letterpress list of subscribers in volume 1, one-page letterpress publisher’s notice at back of volume 4, contemporary Dutch mottled calf, spines gilt in compartments, volume 1 without the first (of two ) title-pages, a few signs of wear to binding, spines sunned

A FINE COPY of the Dutch language edition of Weinmann’s botanical master-work, noted for being the first botanical book to use colour-printed mezzotint successfully and for earning Georg Dionysius Ehret his first major commission.

Better known by the Latin title Phytanthoza Iconographia, the Dutch version was issued nearly simultaneously with the Latin text, which was printed between 1737 and 1745. The plates in the Dutch work are reputed to be better than those in the Latin edition, because they were printed on higher quality paper.

Weinmann (1683-1741) was an apothecary from Regensburg whose success in business funded his interest in botany. He created a botanical garden there, and the present work—a comprehensive iconography of all the flowers, fruit, and vegetables in cultivation in early 18th century Europe—is based on his collection of plants. To illustrate it, he hired the brilliant young botanical artist Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770), who, in his inexperience, agreed to terms highly unfavourable to himself. Disgusted with the miserly pay, Ehret wound up leaving the project after completing 500 designs, and his pivotal contribution to the work is nowhere acknowledged in the publication. The plates made an enormous impact on other artists, botanists, and printers, inspiring, among others, Christoph Jakob Trew, who saw his Plantae Selectae as an extension of Weinmann’s work (a properly-paid Ehret did the illustrations for Trew). The text was written by Johann Georg Nicolaus Dieterichs (1681-1737) and his son Ludwig Michael Dieterichs (1716-1747). Ambrosius Karl Bieler (1693-1747) supervised the project after Weinmann’s death.

Hunt tells us that “the mezzotint process used [here]… had been invented by Johann Teyler in the Netherlands around 1688. As practiced here by Bartholomaeus Seuter (1678-1754) and Johann Elias Ridinger (1698-1767), it was really a combination of etching and mezzotint, which made possible delicate lines and a very fine grain. The addition of hand-tinting brought about unusual and subtle effects. Some of the best work was done in later volumes by Johann Jakob Haid (1704-67)”.
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