antique prints, maps and watercolors

Johann Theodor De Bry (Blue Scilla ) Plate 9. Floregium renovatum et auctum… Frankfurt: Matthaus Merian, 1641. $495.00

Plate 9 "Hyacinthus Peruanus…”

Johann Theodor de Bry (1528 – 1598) was an engraver, goldsmith, publisher and editor, eldest son and most prolific member of a notable family of printmaker-publishers. The de Brys lived in Frankfurt, then a center for the production and sale of illustrated books. De Bry produced a wonderful early comprehensive botanical plate work titled Florilegium Novum in 1611. This book with its handsomely engraved plates was among the most famous flower books of the period. In response to its great popularity an expanded edition of the work was published in 1641 by Matthäus Merian, titled, Florilegium renovatum et auctum: variorum Maximeque rariorum germanium, florum ac platarum.. Merian was a superbly gifted Swiss engraver who worked in various cities throughout France before locating to Frankfurt to work for Theodor de Bry. Upon De Bry’s death in 1623, Merian took over De Bry’s publishing business and married his daughter, Maria Sybilla Merian, an exceptional artist/naturalist in her own right.
A lovely description of scilla. Although the epithet peruviana means "from Peru", it is strictly a western Mediterranean species. Linnaeus named the species in 1753, noting an earlier name given to the plant by Carolue Clusius, Hyacinthus stellatus peruanus.  It is said that Clusius misunderstood a statement that the bulbs came from a ship called "Peru" and thought that they came from that country.

Copper plate engraving with hand coloring.
12 1/2 x 8 inches sheet.
Excellent condition.