LEDERMÜLLER, Martin Frobenius.

Amusement Microscopique tant pour l’esprit, que pour les yeux; contenant cinquante estampes dessinées d’après nature et enluminées, avec leurs explications…

Se grave et se vend a Nuremberg, che’s Adam Wolfgang Winterschmidt. Imprimé che’s de Lanoy.1764

4 volumes in 1, 4to, pp. (viii), 126, (4); 138, (2); (viii), 118, (2), 23, (1); 16, engraved frontispiece and 158 plates (numbered 1–100, 1–50, 1–2, 1–6), all finely hand-coloured or, in a few cases, printed in colour. First title spotted, some light browning, and pale dampstain in upper margin of some leaves. Contemporary French red morocco, triple gilt fillet on sides, spine gilt in compartments and with brown morocco label, marbled endpapers and gilt inner dentelles, gilt edges.

FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH of Mikroskopische Gemüths- und Augenergötzungen by the Nüremberg amateur naturalist M.F. Ledermüller (1719–1769), whose works belong to the most beautifully illustrated microscopical books of the eighteenth century. The 158 plates illustrate in glorious colour all manner of natural objects, including seashells, salts, plants and flowers (including coffee), insects, human blood and urine, etc. etc. Several microscopes and their component parts are also illustrated. The supplement at the end of the third part includes a splendid illustration of a house-fly. This set has the Traité phisique et microscopique de l’asbeste (1775) which, according to Brunet, is often missing. It rarely appears with the other three volumes. It is a study of asbestos illustrated with six plates which are probably the first microscopic illustrations of asbestos, the structure of which was the subject of intense study in the twentieth century. “Ledermüller’s publication was a cutting-edge treatise, depicting each of the known types of fibers with detailed colored engravings” (Alleman & Mossman, “Asbestos revisited” in Scientific American, July 1997, p. 71). Schuh, Mineralogy and crystallography, an annotated biobibliography, 2928: “Very rare.” Clay & Court, The history of the microscope, pp. 154 and 182–183.


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