PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Scallop shells. Albertus Seba plate from 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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