PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Portait of Albertus Seba, the Dutch pharmacist and collector of natural rarities, age 66 (b. May 12th 1665 - d. May 2nd 1736). Portrait with tinting, showing off rarities from his collection acquired through Holland's extensive maritime trade network. The portait forms the frontis of his famous 446 plate volume "Thesaurus" published between 1734 and (posthoumously) 1765. The Thesaurus' complete title was "Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri accurata descriptio" (Accurate description of the very rich thesaurus of the principal and rarest natural objects). In recent years his book has been made popular by reprints of the lavish elephant folio plates, and original copies have sold for record amounts. The plates are at once exotic, beautiful and naive. They reveal his second collection, numbering in the thousands of specimens. Seba's first collection was sold to Peter the Great in 1716.
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