Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Zoologist, lepidopterist and naturalist, Eugenius JC Esper (1742-1810), inherited his father's love of natural history which he pursued as a sideline to his lectureship duties in science at the University of Erlangen in Germany.
He would rise to head the Department of Natural History in Erlangen while expanding their zoological collections substantially (his butterfly collection still exists). He also published a number of copiously illustrated monograph collections relating to seaweeds, butterflies, coral, birds, insects as well as mineralology and general natural history.
The present work is entitled 'Die Pflanzenthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Farben erleuchtet nebst Beschreibungen' (something like: Natural animal-plants in colour with enlightened commentary) that was first published in ~1791. I get the feeling there were a number of editions or it appeared in excerpts and was subsequently republished as a collection with a variable number of illustrations.
The majority of the images above were sourced from the new natural history collection at the University of Heidelberg.