Bestiary

Decorative prints
Bestiary
Stimulated both by the invention of printing press and the upheaval in ideas prompted by the Reformation, there developed in 16th century Europe a thirst for new knowledge that was to lead to the “age of enlightenment” in the following century. One aspect of this intellectual curiosity and the ability to spread knowledge was the appearance of several books describing every aspect of nature, including the animals of Europe and the little known ones from further afield.  Books or parts of books about animals were known as “bestiaries”.  They mark the beginning of scientific zoological knowledge, though they often included mythical animals as well.

 

Sebastian Münster (20 January 1488 – 26 May 1552) was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Christian (Lutheran) scholar. He published one of the first printed bibles in Hebrew. His major work, the Cosmographia was the earliest German description of the world  Its first edition was published in Basel (today Switzerland) in 1544 but its success was such that it went into 24 editions up to 1628, including translations into Latin, French, Italian, English, and Czech. The illustrations are woodcuts by many famous artists of the day and usually set in text. The pages are 320 x 20 0mm. Those we offer here are in very good to excellent condition.

 

ZB 022    Munster leopard s

 ZB 013 LEOPARD.  Page 116 from a Latin edition c 1570. Excellent condition. $A 135

ZB 001s

ZB 001 Rhinoceros.  Woodcut by David Kandel after Albrecht Dürer from a French edition c 1578. Later hand colour, excellent condition. $A 150

ZB 003 s

ZB 012 CHAMELEON [the description is about a chameleon, but the animal depicted is probably a cheetah]. Page 1206 from a French edition perhaps c 1580. Very good condition. Marginal annotations in an old hand. $A 125

 

Conrad Gessner ( 1516 –1565) was a Swiss naturalist and bibliographer. His five-volume Historiae animalium  [Stories of the animals] (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology. Incidentally, he was the first person to describe the pencil, invented shortly before his death.. The images are wood cuts and the name of each animal is given in several languages. These are pages of a book and printed on both sides. Often there is some bleed-through of the image on the reverse. The pages are 382 x 248 mm. They are in good condition considering their age, but show signs of use and some show some browning of the paper. They are often reproduced, but original pages such as offered here do not often come onto the market.

 

ZB 006s

ZB 006 GOAT; page 10. Very good condition. $A 135

ZB 005 s

ZB 005 BISON (Wissent) page 63. Very good condition.  $A 150

ZB 004 s

ZB 004 CROCODILE; page 94. Very good condition.  $A150

 

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ZB 023 s

ZB 023 BABOON.  Page 62. Very good condition.  $A 135

 

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