KNORR, Georg Wolfgang (1705-1761)
[Coral] [Pl. 15]
Nuremberg: [1751-]1767. Fine hand-coloured engraved plate. Sheet size: 19 1/2 x 13 3/4 inches.
A fine print from one of the greatest Nuremberg natural history books: "Delices Physiques Choisies, ou choix de tout ce que les trois regnes de la nature renferment de plus digne des recherches d'un amateur curieux, pour en former un cabinet choisi de curiositez naturelles."…
Knorr was one of the leading proto-geologists of the eighteenth century as well as an excellent engraver, painter and art dealer. Born in Nuremberg, he was initially apprenticed to his father's trade of wood turning, but at the age of eighteen became an engraver of copper-plates for Leonhard Blanc, working with Martin Tyroff on the illustrations for Jacob Scheuchzer's Physica Sacra (1731). This work and his acquaintance with J.A. Beurer, a mineralogist-correspondent of the Royal Society, quickened Knorr's interest in natural history. Further stimulus was provided by the wealthy doctor and polymath Christoph Jakob Trew, owner of a menagerie as well as a wide-ranging natural history collection. Trew gathered around him a highly talented group of artists, engravers and scientists, all of whom contributed to making Nuremberg a centre for the publication of top quality large format natural history books.
In this stimulating intellectual atmosphere Knorr went on to publish a number of lavish folio volumes, but the present work is his masterpiece. It is also one of the greatest fruits of this flowering of talent in Nuremberg. It acted as a showcase for the talented artists working in the city (most of whom were patronised by Trew). Beautifully designed and executed, the work includes some of the finest natural history plates ever produced.
Cf. BM (NH) II, p.998; cf. Landwehr 97 (Dutch edition); Nissen ZBI 2227 & cf. 2229.