Abraham Munting Botanical Prints
From Naauwkeurige Beschryving Der Aardgewassen, 1696

Various Plants

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Abraham Munting (1626-1683) and Joseph Mulder (1659-1710) (after)
Jan Goeree (1670-1731) (title page artist)
Botanical Prints
from Naauwkeurige Beschryving Der Aardgewassen
[Accurate Description of Terrestrial Plants]

Pieter van der Aa & Francois Halma, Leyden & Utrecht, Netherlands: 1696
Hand-colored engravings
12.25 x 8 inches, plate mark (average approximate)
15.25 x 10 inches, sheet (average approximate)
Various Botanicals: $250 to $975 each
Vases: $975 each
Set of Six Botanicals: $2,400 set of 6

An unusual early florilegium that adopted an original scheme for botanical illustration that now seems surreal; monumental plants fill the foreground or float in midair above idyllic and sometimes classical landscapes in the distance.  Some are shown in decorative urns.  The Latin names of the species are presented on ribbon-like scrolls or tablets.   It is unknown whether the innovative inclusion of landscapes as a backdrop to botanical studies was Munting’s idea or that of the artists who completed this work after his death.  Among the prints are trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses of temperate zones, along with a number of tropical and subtropical plants imported for cultivation to the Netherlands.

Abraham Munting was a Dutch botanist and botanical artist.  He studied medicine and botany as a young man and traveled extensively, living for a time in France.  Returning to Holland, he joined the faculty at the University of Groningen, where he remained for 24 years as an eminent professor of botany and chemistry.  There he directed one of the most extensive botanical gardens of the period from 1658 to 1683.  Munting’s most famous work Naauwkeurige Beschryving Der Aardgewassen (1696), was published posthumously and is an enlarged and revised version of his previous book Waare Oeffening der Planten (1672, 1682). Naauwkeurige was later republished in a series of Latin editions beginning in 1702 under the title Phytographia Curiosa.  Aside from Munting, two other artists are credited, Joseph Mulder, whose name is on plate 201, and Jan Goeree, who designed the title page art and possibly some of the landscape backgrounds in other plates.

Pieter Van der Aa (1659-1733) was a Dutch map publisher.  His major work was the massive Galerie Agréable du Monde (1729) a compendium of some 3,000 plates in 66 volumes, published in an edition of 100 sets.  Other publications included Atlas Nouveau et Curieux and Atlas Nouvel, both produced in 1714.  Van der Aa also published separately issued maps and reissued maps by earlier engravers, such as Les Forces de l’Europe (1726), originally published in 1696 by Nicolas de Fer.

François Halma (1653-1722) was a Dutch publisher based in Utrecht.  He published maps after Mercator, Sanson and others, as well as volumes on natural history and reference works such as dictionaries.

Full title and title page text: Nauwkeurige Beschryving Der Aardgewassen, Waar in de veelerley Aart en bijzondere Eigenschappen der Boomen, Heesters, Kruyden, Bloemen, Met hare Vrugten, Zaden, Wortelen en Bollen.

References:

Brindle, John V., James J. White and Donald E Wendel.  Flora Portrayed: Classics of Botanical Art from the Hunt Institute Collection. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie-Mellon University, 1985.  396.

"Munting, Abraham." Herbals & Early Gardening Books from the Doris and Marc Patten Collection. http://www.asu.edu/lib/speccoll/patten/html/137.html (11 July 2002).

Sotheby, Parke, Bernet, and Co.  A Magnificent Collection of Botanical Books: Being the Finest Colour-Plate Books from the Celebrated Library Formed by Robert de Belder, April 27, 28, 1987. London: Sotheby’s, 1987.

Tomasi, Lucia Tongiorgi and Rachel Lambert Mellon.  An Oak Spring Flora: Flower Illustration from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Time. New Haven: Yale University, 1997.  45.

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