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Martius, Ernst Wilhelm

Neueste Anweisung, Pflanzen nach dem Leben abzudruken

  • First edition of this rare work on nature printing, an unsophisticated copy in the original wrappers, with four delicately produced plates, an unusually high number. Of the copies in institutional catalogues with plate counts listed, that in the German National Museum contains four plates, the Bavarian State Library copy contains three plates, those at Strasbourg, Munich, and Harvard have two plates, and the Bonn copy has only one.The plates provided are not always the same, with those present here being bittersweet, club moss, lilly of the valley, and belladonna.

    Author Ernst Wilhelm Martius (1756-1849) was a Regensburg apothecary, university instructor, and founding member of the Regensberg Botanical Society. He “devised a better way of inking leaves on a polished copper plate: the copper shining through made it easy to see whether any areas were underinked. Martius’s largest work containing nature prints was Icones Planatrum Originales (Original Images of Plants), issued in 1780. His method of working was shown in his Neueste Anweisung, Pflanzen nach dem Leben abzudrucken (New Instructions on Taking Fresh Prints from Plants) published in Wetzlar in 1784” (Cave, Impressions of Nature, p. 52). Of particular interest in Neueste Anweisung is the illustration on the title page depicting the press Martius devised, and the work also includes a history of nature printing (based on that of Beckmann) and a list of subscribers.

  • ...Nebst einigen abgedrukten Pflanzen. Wetzlar: Winkler (for the author), 1784.

    Octavo. Original grey wrappers. 4 folding plates, engraving depicting Martius’s press to the title, headpiece and tailpiece. Contemporary inked shelf number “244” to spine. Wrappers foxed and a little creased at the extremities with short closed tears at the ends of the spine, spotting and toning to contents, small square area on the back wrapper which may be an old repair. A very good copy.

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