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The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd.Natural History

Antique Entomology Prints


Plate 27
Moses Harris. Plate XXVII. From The Aurelian or Natural History of English Insects Namely Moths and Butterflies Together with Plants. London: 1778. 12 x 19. Copper engravings. Full original hand color. With some minor paper toning and light spots. Very good condition, except as noted. Sitwell: 63.

A lovely print from a detailed series of eighteenth century entomological prints. This images, drawn by Moses Harris, show insect and plant species together in their natural groupings. Various stages of development of each insect species are shown together with the plant or plants on which they are often found, and often with the appropriate apparatus for catching the insect. This "natural" setting is unusual, for many such naturalist series show species or groups of species isolated from their habitats. Sacheverell Sitwell, in his Great Flower Books, 1700-1900, refers to The Aurelian as an entomological work "in which appear some charming and accurate portraits of plants . . . [where] the flowers and foliage are represented, admittedly sometimes gnawed and frayed, as the host plants of insects." $825
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Herbst: pl. XXXVI
Carl Gustav Jablonsky & J.F.W. Herbst. Pl. XXXVI. Fig. 1.2. Pap. Eq. Ach. Aegistus; Fig. 3.4. Pap. Eq. Ach. Demoleus. Fig. 5.6. Pap. Eq. Ach. Erythenius. From Natursystem aller bekannten in-und ausländischen Insecten. Berlin, Pauli Reimer, 1783+. Engraving. Excellent original hand color. Very good condition.

A series of attractive prints from a rare and superbly illustrated work on exotic and European butterflies. Carl Gustav Jablonsky (1756-1787) was a naturalist who was also private secretary to the Queen of Prussia. Jablonsky died unexpectedly at the age of 31, and the writing and editing of the text fell to his colleague, Johann F. W. Herbst (1743-1807), a German naturalist and entomologist. The plates were designed mostly by Jablonsky, with some by Krüger of Berlin. The engravers are the same ones as those working for Marcus Elieser Bloch’s Histoire Naturelle Des Poissons, primarily Ludwig Schmidt. This work on butterflies is one of the most attractively illustrated entomological works of the period, with brilliant coloring and fine engraving. A sequel was published to this work dealing with coleoptera, and these sets form a fine monument to the skill and knowledge of Jablonsky. $350

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Pl. 37Pl. 41Pl. 31Pl. 34

J.O. Westwood, F.L.S. From Illustrations of Exotic Entomology, Containing Upwards of Six Hundred and Fifty Figures and Descriptions of Foreign Insects... By Dru Drury. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1837. Quarto. Engravings. Original hand color. Excellent condition.

These meticulously portrayed, life size illustrations of dragonflies, wasps, bees, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers et al. are exquisitely engraved and colored. In addition, the subjects of each plate are stunningly arranged into artistic compositions. The subtle colorings of some of these creatures contrast well with the brilliant shades of their cousins. These contrasts bring to mind the different environments and predators of each species. Some thrive in lush and brilliant surroundings, others in areas more bleak, varying only in shades of gray and brown. Many predators would be deterred by fearsome appearance, while others were foiled by their prey's disappearance into the surroundings. These images are fine examples of the devotion to detail maintained by Westwood and Drury in publishing their works.

Plate 7
Eugène Alain Séguy. Plate 7. From Papillons. Paris: Tolmer, 1928. Pochoir. 17 1/2 x 12 3/4. Very good condition.

A print from one of the most spectacular and famous Art Deco works, E.A. Séguy's portfolio of 20 vibrant pochoir prints illustrating designs based on the pattern of butterflies. Seguy wanted to use his artistic skill to glorify the sublime beauty of nature. The breathtaking patterns used by Séguy are scientifically accurate renderings of the patterns on real butterflies from around the work, but magnified and then composed into abstract patterns in Séguy's inimitable style, creating what he called a 'world of sumptuous forms and colors.' His intent was to provide a record of exotic butterfly specimens as an inspiration for decorative art designers. Sixteen of the plates show designs composed of between five and six butterflies and four of the plates are compositions formed out of repeated parts of the butterfly designs. The depth and vibrancy of the colors adds a sumptuous quality to these spectacular and unique images. Séguy produced eleven portfolios of designs, often based on images from the natural world, but the set of Papillons is acknowledged as his most glorious work. $950
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