First edition. Folio. pp. , 1-40, , 43-201, ,  + , 97, . Contemporary full vellum with manuscript title in black ink to the spine. Red speckled edges. Title page printed in red and black. Illustrated with an engraved frontispiece, 41 engraved plates (two of which are double-page) and with a decorative headpiece, tailpiece, and large engraved initial to each chapter, each illustrated to represent the category of artefacts discussed therein. The standard collation of the work is 37 plates, however the present copy also includes the 'Auctarium rariorum' (1699) and so contains an additional 4 plates of numismatic subjects. A near fine copy, the binding square and firm; the vellum with some minor marking is otherwise unusually clean and bright. The frontispiece with the margins trimmed and three closed tears (10cm, 7cm and 3cm) laid down to the recto of the second front blank. The entirely complete contents with a small armorial bookplate to the front pastedown are otherwise immaculate throughout, remaining free from any foxing, marking or inscriptions. The plates themselves are in very fine condition. A superlative copy.
A beautifully preserved example of this magnificent guide to the King of Denmark's Kunstkammer, or Cabinet of Curiosities, richly illustrated with a superb suite of engravings by Johann Erichsonig after Benedict Grothschilling. The Renaissance enthusiasm for classical antiquity, and the upsurge in trade resulting from the discovery of new continents, provided the impetus for the growth of collections of ancient relics, artistic objects and rarities relating to ethnography and natural history during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Assembled in princely, noble and scholarly houses all over Europe, these 'cabinets of curiosity', or 'wonder-rooms', were curated spaces of 'learned entertainment' in which social and intellectual elites could showcase the glamourous objects which they had gathered during their travels (or else that had been acquired on their behalf). Forming tangible representations of their owner's intelligence, erudition and taste, such collections were certainly a conspicuous display of wealth and social standing. However, through their attempts to categorise, learn from, and tell stories about the wonders and oddities which they contained, these pioneering assemblages also formed the precursor of the modern museum, both in spirit and substance. The Royal Danish Kunstkammer, founded by King Frederick III in 1650 and continued by his son, Christian V (1646-1699), to whom the present work is dedicated, formed a spectacular example of its type. This catalogue, authored by Oliger Jacobaeus (1650-1701), a comparative anatomist who taught medicine, philosophy, history and geography at the University of Copenhagen, provides an important written and visual record of the Kunstkammer as it was in the late seventeenth century, illustrating a wide range of its fascinating holdings, including: Egyptian mummies, reptiles, birds, fishes, shells, snakes, insects, plants, elephant teeth, skulls, horns, antlers, asteroids, minerals and stones, precious gold and silver objects, instruments and weaponry created by cultures from around the globe, relics from Northern Europe's antiquity, mechanical and optical instruments, and an extensive collection of coins and medals. As was the case with many such collections, the Kunstkammer was dispersed in 1825, with its contents going on to form the basis of several specialised museums which were established during the early nineteenth century.
Stock code: 20667