Lot 188 of 338:
Scheuchzer's Kupfer-Bibel/Physica Sacra, 1731-35  

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Lot closed - unsold
$15,000 - $25,000

Kupfer-Bibel: in welcher Die Physica Sacra, Oder Beheiligte Naturwissenschafft Derer in Heil. Schrifft Vorkommenden Natürlichen Sachen, Deutlich Erklärt und Bewährt

Scheuchzer, Johann Jakob

Augsburg and Ulm

Gedruckt bey C.U. Wagner



5 volumes. [48], 276; [8], 276-672; [8], 572; 573-1140; 1141-1426, [79] pp. The German translation (concurrently published in Latin). With a copper-engraved frontispiece portrait of the author complemented by an additional engraved allegorical frontispiece, with 762 copper-engraved plates after drawings by Johann Melchior Füssli. (Folio) 39.3x24.5 cm (15½x9¾"), modern mottled full calf tooled and lettered on spines in gilt, red morocco lettering pieces, raised bands, all edges decoratively stamped, fresh endpapers and headbands. First Edition.

Johann Jakob Scheuchzer was a polymath Swiss scholar whose broad interests were typical of the Enlightenment philosophes, and yet an ardent Christian. A physician, professor of mathematics, and chair in physics, Scheuchzer is recognized as one of the early fathers of paleontology. Working from his own cabinet of curiosities and the burgeoning fossil collections of Europe, Scheuchzer attempted to apply scientific theories to the understanding of scripture and a Biblical frame of analysis to the rising scientific disciplines of geology, biology, and paleontology. In this sense the Physica Sacra is itself a transitional fossil from before the flood of Darwinian science (see Scheuchzer's Homo diluvii testis). A Biblical illustrator by training, Johann Melchior Füssli's illustrations share this same transitional quality as is evident in the frontispiece. Under the motto "Soli Gloria", it depicts God's radiance emanating from the Sun, the source of physical and spiritual enlightenment for the representatives of the liberal arts below. As Füssli's illustrations represent a the flowering of the Baroque, they also look forward to pictorial naturalism and the rise of scientific illustration. The book is entitled the Kupfer-Bibel (Copper Bible) for the 762 magnificent copper-plate engravings throughout. In addition to the intrinsic interest of the illustrations and the text, the present copy has an interesting provenance. On the front preliminary leaf is the bookplate of Lucie Emmerentze Høegh-Guldberg, dated 1794. She was the wife of Ove Høegh-Guldberg, the Prime Minister of Denmark under the insane monarch Christian VII. There are some other ownership marks on this leaf dating from 1835 and 1903.

Due to the size and/or weight of this lot extra shipping and/or handling charges may apply.

Lot Amendments

Occasional repairs, some tattered edges, and stains, mild foxing, some volumes with dampstaining and rippled leaves; very good or better.

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