Der monatlich-herausgegebenen Insecten-Belustigung.

Nuremberg: Johann Joseph Fleischmann, 1746-61.

Price: $7,000.00

About the item

First edition. With hand-colored allegorical frontispiece in volume 1, additional hand-colored engraved titles volumes 2 and 3, uncolored engraved portrait frontispiece volume 4, and 358 hand-colored engraved plates on 287 leaves (3 double-page and one folding). [40], [8], 64, [8], 60, [8], 64, [8], 304, [8], 305-312, 48, 48, [24]; [8], 24, 72, 28, 16, [4], 32, [8], 76, 200 64, 52, [16]; [8], 624, [8]; [12], 48; 264, [4] pp. Lacking final leaf of index volume 2, intro to vol 1 part 5 misbound between pp 304-305 of part 4. 4 vols. 4to. Contemporary calf. Chipping to spines, volume 1 spine cracked, occasional repairs to text (mostly marginal), scattered foxing, mild toning to some plates in volume four but a very good copy internally, lacking final leaf of index volume 2. Nissen Zoologische Buchillustration 3466.

Item #305865

First edition of the Insecten-Belustigung ("Insect Entertainment"), one of the outstanding entomological works of the eighteenth century. Having established himself as a talented engraver and miniature painter in Nuremberg, August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof (1705-1759) developed a reputation as a gifted naturalist as well with his Monatliche Insectenbelustigungen, the bi-monthly issue of an insect plate and explanatory text which would later be gathered into the present work. Rösel von Rosenhof engraved the plates himself after his own drawings, giving equal weight to the scientific and aesthetic dimensions of his subject; the resulting plates are justly "counted among the most beautiful and accurate of the eighteenth century" (Damkaer p 33).

Regarding Rösel von Rosenhof’s treatment of beetles in the second volume, Adam Dodd writes: "Apart from their detail and accuracy, what makes these images especially interesting is their intimation of 'scenes'— the beetles and other assorted microfauna are presented not merely as flat, lifeless specimens on a page, or within a cabinet, but in many instances as the inhabitants of a lively, miniature world to which the human observer is now being made privy … Rosel resists the overemphasis of geometrical arrangement which would come to dominate entomological illustration in the years that followed. This gives his illustrations an enduring charm— even while they continue to function as entomologically accurate images of important specimens" (Beetles pp 91-92).