SCHEUCHZER, Johann Jakob (1672-1733)
Physica Sacra (Kupfer Bibel, Physique Sacra, Geestlelyke Natuurkunde)
Augsburg: 1731-1735. Two volumes, small folio. (15 x 10 inches). The plates only bound without the text in two very worn volumes. Illustrated with one portrait only, and 759 of 760 engraved plates including the 10 bis plates but wanting plate 1. The rainbow plate 66 hand coloured, as usual. Binding poor, 6 plates torn without loss, one plate torn with loss, last 8 plates creased and some occasional marking - however generally clean and a reasonable working or breaking set of these stunning illustrations.
An extraordinary-illustrated natural history work and a great example of the decorative and imaginative nature of the eighteenth-century copper engraving.
This theological cum scientific work is an admirable attempt to reconcile biblical passages with the new sciences. The plates, by J. M. Fussli with borders by J.D. Preissler, illustrate Bible scenes surrounded by wonderful baroque borders incorporating natural history and scientific subjects, cosmic designs, architectural illustrations and numerous plates of plants and mammals and fishes and birds and shells and fossils, the supposed relics of the ante-diluvian world. It is a pictorial monument to a heroic and futile enterprise. Johann Jakob Scheuchzer was a Swiss scholar who was trained as a physician but whose work concerned the natural sciences. He studied paleontology and geology, subjects in which he published several books, and was a collector of fossils.