You know I’m a sucker for old scientific illustrations… Here are some beautiful engraved pages by Matthaus Merian from the first edition of Historia Naturalis de Piscibus et Cetis, Libri V, published in 1657.
Enlarge the images to see them in their full glory.
This work by John Johnston and engraved by Matthaus Merian was much read in the 17th & 18th centuries according to Anker. In fact this is still so, as there are several facsimile copies in publication, including one by Dover Press, 1,300 Real and Fanciful Animals from 17th Century Engravings (1998).
John Johnston (or Johnstone, 1603-1675) was a descendant of a Scottish family. Born in Sambter, Poland, he studied extensively at the famous universities of the day, including St. Andrews, Scotland, Cambridge & Leiden. After many years traveling in Europe, he settled in Silesia. Matthaus Merian was a leading German engraver of the day, from a prominent family of engravers and artists, and the father of Maria Merian.
The volumes of this popular work were first printed from 1650-1662. There are a total of 250 copper engravings. The condition of these prints is excellent, with white chain lined paper & fine copper engravings. They have been beautifully hand colored in England by one of the few remaining professional colorists whose specialty is fish & shells.”