MERIAN, After Maria Sibylla (1647-1717)
[Pink Flowered Rocu]
Amsterdam: 1705. Counter Proof of plate 44 original colour. Sheet size: 20 1/4 x 14 inches.
A very fine image from probably the most beautiful, and certainly the most famous illustrated natural history work of the early 18th century, The Metamorphoses of the Insects of Surinam.
The Metamorphosis is justifiably Merian's most famous work, resulting from her trip with her daughter Dorothea to Surinam in 1699. The two women spent two years studying and recording plants and insects under incredibly difficult conditions. They returned to Amsterdam with finished drawings, sketches, and specimens, from which they continued to work. The Metamorphosis is 'easily the most magnificent work on insects so far produced ... [combining] science and art in unequal proportions, meeting the demands of art at the expense, when necessary, of science. Her portrayals of living insects and other animals were imbued with a charm, a minuteness of observation and an artistic sensibility that had not previously been seen in a natural history book' (Peter Dance, The Art of Natural History , pp.50-51).
In 1719, Merian's daughters produced a second edition of their mother's 1705 work, making use the "counter proof" method to double the number of plates produced at each inking. Using sheets fully coloured, this produced in the counter proof pages lovely, soft hues.
Cf. Dunthorne 205; cf. Hunt 467; cf. Nissen BBI 6105.