NATURAL HISTORY ILLUSTRATIONS
from Albertus Seba
Locupletissimi Rerum Naturalium Thesauri Accurata Descriptio et Iconibus Artificiosissmis Expressio per Universam Physices Historiam
The most complete record of any of the eighteenth-century cabinets of natural history.
Albertus Seba was an apothecary in Amsterdam who became rich in the service of the Dutch East India Company. During this time the Dutch, through the Company, commanded the most extensive network of trade and colonies in the world, and it was by exploiting this that Seba managed to acquire his collection.
Accordingly, Seba gathered a vast array of specimens from Sri Lanka, Greenland, Indonesia and other far-flung places. Many specimens were South American, particularly Brazilian; these came to him via the Dutch colony in Surinam.
The present work is a catalogue of his second and grandest cabinet of natural rarities, including mammals, birds, plants, insects, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, shells, minerals and fossils.
Seba’s cabinet played an important part in Linnaeus’s classification of the natural world. … Maria Sybilla Merian made use of the cabinet in her great work on Surinamese insects.
Many of Seba’s specimens still survive in European museums.
( Sotheby’s )