Original copper engraving from: Historia Naturalis..., Published in Amsterdam in 1657.
FOLIO Leaf: 14.9 x 9 inches ; 37.8 x 23 cms
John Jonston (or Johnstone), a descendant of a Scottish family, was born in Sambter, Poland. He was interested in both medicine and natural sciences, and studied at St. Andrews, Cambridge, and Leiden. He published major natural history studies, including Thaumatographia Naturalis (Amsterdam 1632), a compendium of contemporary knowledge of natural science including astronomy, paleontology, plants, animals and man. This was followed by Theatrum Universale Omnium Animalium (Frankfurt, 1650), with plates after his drawings engraved by Matthias Merian depicting the entire range of animal species. After having spent most of his life travelling through all parts of Europe, he settled in Silesia.
Matthäus Merian der Ältere (or "Matthew", "the Elder", or "Sr."; 22 September 1593 - 19 June 1650) was a Swiss-born engraver who worked in Frankfurt for most of his career, where he also ran a publishing house.
Born in Basel, Merian learned the art of copperplate engraving in Zürich. He next worked and studied in Strasbourg, Nancy, and Paris, before returning to Basel in 1615. The following year he moved to Frankfurt, Germany where he worked for the publisher Johann Theodor de Bry, who was the son of renowned engraver and traveler Theodor de Bry.
Early in his life, he had created detailed town plans in his unique style, e.g. the plan of Basel (1615). With Martin Zeiler (1589 - 1661), a German geographer, and later (circa 1640) with his own son, Matthäus Merian (der Jüngere, i.e. "the Younger" or "Jr.") (1621 - 1687), he produced a series of Topographia. The 21-volume set was collectively known as the Topographia Germaniae. It includes numerous town plans and views, as well as maps of most countries and a World Map—it was such a popular work that it was re-issued in many editions. He also took over and completed the later parts and editions of the Grand Voyages and Petits Voyages, originally started by de Bry in 1590.