4 volumes, folio (15 1/8 x 9 3/4 in.; 383 x 243 mm). Binding: Contemporary German calf, covers paneled in blind, spines gilt in eight compartments with red morocco labels, marbled endpapers, gilt edges with simple gauffering. Brown cloth folding-cases with maroon morocco labels. Provenance: Manuscript crowned double-L flanked by laurel wreath on title-page of vol. 1, with indistinct initials (GR?) at foot — Ernst Friedrich III, Carl von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1727−1780; handcolored monogram bookplate, engraved by Martin Tyroff, Nuremberg, with press-marks 2309a–2039d).
Lower fore-edge corner of portrait of Bieler lost, plate 21 torn at fore-edge with slight loss within plate-mark, small light dampstain to fore-edge margins of plates 46–65, a very few plates, including one folding, with artless repairs to marginal tears occasionally affecting images, some mostly light scattered foxing. Bindings rubbed with modest restoration to extremities.
Phytanthoza iconographia contains the first published (though unsigned) illustrations by perhaps the greatest botanical artist of the eighteenth century, Georg Dionysius Ehret. Ehret served his apprenticeship as a botanical draftsman under Weinmann, who exploited him mercilessly, supposedly offering only a meager wage and then paying him just half the promised amount. Ehret eventually withdrew from the project, which explains why he is not acknowledged anywhere in the book. Still, Ehret’s distinctive style is on display throughout the work and particularly in the various aloes and cacti that are depicted in elaborate pots and urns.
This Regensburg edition is based on Weinmann’s collection of plants and was financed by him, despite the claim on the Latin title that it was produced at the expense of the artists and engravers. When Ehret refused to continue on the work, Weinmann replaced him with N. Asamin, a talented young female artist. Extremely influential at the time of its publication, Weinmann’s work is now principally valued for the high artistic standard of its plates, but it also represents an extremely valuable record of the plant kingdom as it was understood and classified in the period just preceding the introduction of Linnaeus' revolutionary system of classification. The text is by J. G. N. Dietrichs, L. M. Dietrichs, and A. K. Bieler.
As with many works published in parts and more than one issue (in addition to Jan Burmann’s Dutch translation and the preliminary Eigentliche Darstellung, 1734–1735), the make-up of preliminary leaves and indexes varies from copy to copy. The Allen copy is substantially more complete than most and includes the two-leaf dedication to the artists, the nine-leaf preface by A. Haller in German, the nine-leaf Latin and eleven-leaf German index, and twelve-leaf “real-register” at the conclusion of vol. 4. However, it is without the list of subscribers, the leaf of testimonials, and the Latin version of Haller’s preface.
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