Eugenius Johann Christoph Esper. "Papil: europ: P.N.Ph. Athalia; P.N.Ph. Pilofellae." Pl. XLVII, Suppl. XXIII. From Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen.
Erlangen: 1777-1794. Plate mark 9 1/8 x 7 1/8. Copper engraving by I.F. Volckart on chain laid paper. Full original hand color. Excellent condition.
Esper's father was an amateur botanist, who taught his son in the discipline. Later in his studies at university, Esper changed his course from theology to natural history. After receiving his degree, he lead of the Natural History department at Erlangen University where he also amassed a fine collection of specimens, now in the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology at Munich.
Esper published many works, including the source of this print, the most comprehensive work on butterflies of the time, Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen, from 1777-1794. The complete life cycle of each butterfly is shown, creating both a work of art and a scientific record based on the Linnaean system.