Frontispiece - Neptune riding dolphins, gathering shells on the shore
Filippo Buonanni (1638 – 1723) was a brilliant Jesuit scholar. He was a teacher of mathematics, natural sciences, and history. His many works included treatises on fields ranging from anatomy to music. He created the earliest practical illustrated guide for shell collectors in 1681, for which he is considered a founder of conchology. Buonanni also published a study on the ingredients craftsmen in China used to make the lacquer they used on porcelain, a popular import item for Europe at the time. Like other researchers of the day, he went on to experiment with various recipes to recreate the lacquer used on porcelain and furniture which has been in use ever since.
This engraving was a frontispiece to his work titled: Ricreatione dell”Occhio e della Mente Osservation delle Chiocciole published in Rome in 1680. It is considered the earliest and first work exclusively devoted to mollusks. Buonanni firmly believed that mollusks had neither hearts nor blood and therefore spontaneously generated. “All conches are generated spontaneously by the mud – oysters by dirty mud the others by sandy mud.” An interesting theory!
Copperplate engraving, uncolored as issued.
16 x 13 ½ inches framed, 9 1/2 x 6 ¾ inches sheet.
Archivally framed in gold leaf frame with carved shell corners.
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