TREW, Christoph Jakob (1695-1769); Benedict Christian VOGEL (1745-1825); and Georg Dionysius EHRET (1704-1770)
[Nuremberg]: 1750-1773. Folio, 10 parts in one volume. (20 1/4 x 14 inches). 3 mezzotint portraits of Trew, G.D. Ehret and J.J. Haid, 10 engraved section titles, all heightened in red and gold, 100 hand-coloured engraved plates by Johann Jacob Haid and Johann Elias Haid after Georg Dionysius Ehret, with lettering heightened in gold.
Contemporary diced russia, covers with outer decorative rule and roll-tool border, spine in eight compartments with raised bands, lettered in one, the others with symmetrical overall tooling composed from various small tools (flowers in the main), narrow gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers
Provenance: Beriah Botfield (Christie’s London, 30 March 1994, lot 89)
One of the greatest eighteenth century botanical books, with 100 exquisite plates after paintings by Georg Dionysius Ehret.
Georg Dionysius Ehret, the greatest botanical artist of the 18th century, was unrivalled in his ability to "achieve realism, majesty, ineffable colour, all in one breathtaking look." (Hunt). He was born in Heidelberg in 1710, and originally worked as a gardener, practising drawing in his spare time. His artistic abilities led him into the service of a Regensburg banker named Leskenkohl who had commissioned him to copy plates from van Rheede tot Draakestein's Hortus indicus malabaricus (1678-1693). It was during this period that Trew met Ehret. "Trew was a Nuremberg physician, anatomist, and botanist who at various times served as dean of the medical school at Nuremberg, as an Imperial Counselor, and as personal physician to the Emperor. He was made a Pfalzgraf and served as a patron of botanical (and anatomical) illustrators, filling roughly the same position in Germany as that occupied by Sir Hans Sloane in England" (Cleveland Collections p.397). Trew was to remain a friend and patron of Ehret's throughout his life, and by 1742 the germ of what was to become the present publication was already under discussion when Trew wrote to Christian Thran in Carlsruhe "Every year I receive some beautifully painted exotic plants [by Ehret] and have already more than one hundred of them, which with other pieces executed by local artists, should later on ... constitute an appendicem to Weinmann's publication." Ehret moved to London in the late 1730s, where he painted the recently introduced exotics at the Chelsea Physic Garden and established himself as a teacher of flower-painting and botany. Discussions about the projected work continued by letter until in 1748 when Johann Jacob Haid of Augsburg agreed to produce the engravings from Ehret's drawings. The first part was published in 1750, with six subsequent parts appearing before Trew's death 1769. The text to the final three parts remained unwritten and the plates to parts IX and X were still to be produced. The work was bought to a conclusion by Benedict Christian Vogel, Professor of Botany at the University of Altdorf. This copy does not include the engraved general title, or the portrait of Vogel, as issued when the decuria or part titles are present.
Gerta Calmann, Georg Ehret, Flower painter Extraordinary (1977) p.97; Dunthorne 309; Great Flower Books p.78; Hunt 539; Nissen BBI 1997; Pritzel 9499; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 15.131.