Carl Gustav Jablonsky & J.F.W. Herbst. Pl. XXXVI. Fig. 1.2. Pap. Eq. Ach. Aegistus; Fig. 3.4. Pap. Eq. Ach. Demoleus. Fig. 5.6. Pap. Eq. Ach. Erythenius. From Natursystem aller bekannten in-und ausländischen Insecten. Berlin, Pauli Reimer, 1783+. Engraving. Excellent original hand color. Very good condition.
A series of attractive prints from a rare and superbly illustrated work on exotic and European butterflies. Carl Gustav Jablonsky (1756-1787) was a naturalist who was also private secretary to the Queen of Prussia. Jablonsky died unexpectedly at the age of 31, and the writing and editing of the text fell to his colleague, Johann F. W. Herbst (1743-1807), a German naturalist and entomologist. The plates were designed mostly by Jablonsky, with some by Krüger of Berlin. The engravers are the same ones as those working for Marcus Elieser Bloch’s Histoire Naturelle Des Poissons, primarily Ludwig Schmidt. This work on butterflies is one of the most attractively illustrated entomological works of the period, with brilliant coloring and fine engraving. A sequel was published to this work dealing with coleoptera, and these sets form a fine monument to the skill and knowledge of Jablonsky. $350
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These meticulously portrayed, life size illustrations of dragonflies, wasps, bees, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers et al. are exquisitely engraved and colored. In addition, the subjects of each plate are stunningly arranged into artistic compositions. The subtle colorings of some of these creatures contrast well with the brilliant shades of their cousins. These contrasts bring to mind the different environments and predators of each species. Some thrive in lush and brilliant surroundings, others in areas more bleak, varying only in shades of gray and brown. Many predators would be deterred by fearsome appearance, while others were foiled by their prey's disappearance into the surroundings. These images are fine examples of the devotion to detail maintained by Westwood and Drury in publishing their works.
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