Two added engraved titles, 97 plates (many folding), and 287 engraved illus. & several woodcuts in the text. 14 p.l. (incl. added engraved title), 520, , 76, 119,  pp.; 12 p.l. (incl. added engraved title), 196, 116 pp.; 4 p.l., 228,  pp. Three vols. in two. Folio, cont. mottled calf (extremities a bit rubbed & worn), sides ruled in gilt, spines nicely gilt, black & red morocco lettering pieces on spines. Frankfurt am Main: J.D. Zunner, 1714-14-14.
First complete edition, comprising the second issue of Vol. I (1st: 1704) and first editions of Vols. II and III, printed throughout on superior fine white paper. This is a most attractive set of a marvelous work; it is one of the great illustrated books of the Baroque era and an inexhaustible repertorium of all oversea products of the late 17th century. Valentini has also described all known cabinets of natural history specimens.
“Valentini was the personal physician to the Margrave of Assia and professor of experimental science and medicine at Giessen. His Museum Museorum is the single most valuable contribution to Wunderkammer studies as it reprints many early collection catalogues and gives a list of all the museums known to exist at the time (some 159). Valentini also includes a catalogue of his own cabinet at Giessen, illustrates the interior of the Royal Library and Raritäten-Kammer at Vienna, and gives an unusual view of the bear pit (with an elaborate fountain, ‘tree-houses’ and spectators leaning over the enclosure) at the Dresden Zoo…
“The first volume deals with plants, animals, minerals and metals, their properties and commercial and medical use. The second volume covers stones, fossils, coins, tropical plants, shells, unicorns, and monstrosities. Several plates give an early attempt at the reconstruction of fossil skeletons. A separate appendix, Ost. Indianish Send-Schreiben, is a compilation from Rumph, Kaempfer, Ten Rhyn and others, on the rarities, mostly botanical, of the East Indies. The third volume is devoted to experiments in physics and natural philosophy with fine illustrations of the apparatus, and concluding with a dissertation on the divining rod…
“The catalogues printed by Valentini are for the Royal Museum at Vienna; Treasury of the Abbey of St. Denis and the Anatomy Cabinet at St. Victoire; the Royal Museums at Copenhagen and Dresden; the Hesse-Cassel Museum; the Treasury of Loretto; relics in the Liebfrauen Kirche at Aachen; the Royal Society; the Anatomy Theatres at Leyden and Amsterdam and the Garden Gallery at Leyden; Apothecary Petiver’s cabinet; the museums of Tobias Reymer of Lüneburg, C.M. Spener of Berlin, Lorentz von Aldershelm of Leipzig, the fossils of J.G. Kisner of Frankfurt, Gottfried Nicolai of Wittenberg, J.C. Ratzel of Halberstadt, the Museum Brackenhofferianum, Professor Weigel of Jena’s astronomical instruments, J.D. Major’s Kunstkammer and the cabinet of an unnamed collector which was for sale.”–Grinke, From Wunderkammer to Museum, 46.
The first part illustrates plants (including American specimens) — flowers, herbs, trees — many of which were used in pharmaceutical preparations. There are sections on tobacco, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, cotton, silk, minerals, metals, and animal husbandry. Part II treats geological specimens, jewels, fossils, coins, shells, tropical plants, monsters, unicorns, and other mythological creatures. The third part is dedicated to natural history and physics, with descriptions of Boyle’s air pump, acoustic and optical apparatus, Lana’s airship (with suggestions for other aeronautical machines), a chapter on the divining-rod, the lodestone, the threshing machine, etc.
Fine and handsome set, from the Macclesfield library. Most copies are printed on paper that has turned various shades of brown. Our set, printed on superior paper, has retained its whiteness throughout.
❧ Alden, European Americana, 704. Nissen, BBI, 2035. Nissen, ZBI, 4217. Pritzel 9663. Sabin 98357. Schlosser (English ed.), pp. 1884.
Item ID: 7702