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Daniel Good Rare Books and Engravings

1741 Neolamarckia, Rumpf (Rumpfius), G. E. (B1627), botanical, tropical, folio

1741 Neolamarckia, Rumpf (Rumpfius), G. E. (B1627), botanical, tropical, folio

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Neolamarckia is a genus with one or two species of trees native to the Old World tropics. It has often been confused with other genera, particularly Nauclea and Neonauclea to such an extent that descriptions of Neolamarckia may state incorrectly that its fruit is a capsule.

Issued in Herbarium Amboinense, plurimas conplectens arbores, frutices, herbas, plantas terrestres & aquaticas, quae in Amboina, et adjacentibus reperiunter insulis Het Auctuarium ofte Vermeerdering op her Amboinsch Kruyd-Boek. 1741.

Hand colour.

Printed on fine chain linked watermarked paper.

Reference: Hunt 518

"Few important scientific works have come to print under greater difficulties" (Hunt). 

Lightest of age toning to lower left margin.

"The flora of Amboina is typically Malayan, although a few Australian types are present as in other parts of the Malayan region. Practically all the species found along the seacoast are of general distribution from India to Malaya and Polynesia ."(Merrill). 

In 1652 Rumphius enlisted with the Dutch East Indies Company and took up residence in Amboina in 1653. His sight was failing and by 1670, when his great work was ready for publication, he had become blind. His bad fortunes continued when in 1674 his wife was killed in an earthquake, and in 1687 a fire destroyed his library including his original drawings. These were drawn anew by his son Paul, and in 1692 the manuscript of the first six volumes was sent to Holland for publication, but the ship carrying it was destroyed by the French. Copies of the manuscript for the complete work did not reach Holland until 1697, where it languished for 32 years in the archives of the Dutch East Indies Company. Rumpf illustrated plants both from Amboina and from surrounding islands, particularly Banda.

Rumphius’ son Paul August undertook most of the illustrations, although it remains unclear who undertook the engravings.

"Each plate shows a different plant in flower, including many exotic species from America and other distant lands. The plant dominates the foreground, filling the entire page, often with a detail of the fruit or the flowers presented on a smaller scale… The name of each plant appears written on an elegantly fluttering ribbon or cartouche, or on a crumbling marble plaque. The originality of the work lies, however, in the small landscapes that have been inserted into the background of the plates. Here the artist gave full rein to his imagination, delineating scenes that in reality bore little relation to the actual habitat of the plants. Pastorals with animals and figures alternate capriously with vistas of walled cities and landscapes containing classical statues and ruins." (Lucia Tongiorg
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