KNORR, Georg Wolfgang (1705-1761). Verlustigigung der Oogen en van den Geest of Verzameling van allerley bekinde Hoorens en schulpen. Amsterdam: F.Houttuyn, 1770-1775.
6 parts in one volume. 4to., (10 4/8 x 8 inches). 6 letterpress section title-pages. 190 hand coloured engraved plates of shells (30 plates in each volume I-V and 40 in the final part). Contemporary red-papered boards, spine with green morocco title label (back strip split and loose).
Provenance: purchased from K. Gregory, 1973, $800 by; Richard Harris, his sale Bloomsbury New York, 13th October 2010, lot 65.
First Dutch edition, first published in Nuremburg between 1757-1773. One of the celebrated books on shells of the 18th-century, this was a collaboration between Knorr, a Nuremburg collector and artist and Dr Martinus Houttuyn who not only collaborated at this translation by contributing a large part of the text, but also provided many of the plates by having shells from his own collection painted by Wartenaar.
"It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the beauty of some of Knorr's illustrations exceeds that of their models and that in all cases the artist's eye has transformed neutral, natural objects into permanent, formal aspects of humanism. The detail and accuracy of Knorr's engravings not only made possible zoological classification but firmly established the distinction between fossils of organic origin and sports of nature" (DSB).
Knorr was an early pioneer of paleontology, and extremely accomplished engraver, and art dealer who, in his lifetime, put together a handsome collection of drawings based on the Cabinets of Curiosity and other amateur collections of natural history specimens in Holland and Germany in the early 18th century (Muller, Houttyn, Schadeloock and others). Landwehr 96; Nissen ZBI 2236. Catalogued by Kate Hunter