One of the first natural history museums ever

Worm, Olaus. Museum Wormianum. Seu historia rerum rariorum, tam naturalium, quam artificialium, tam domesticarum, quam exoticarum, quae in Hafniae Danorum in aedibus authoris servantur.

Leiden, Jan Elsevier, 1655.

Folio (243 x 372 mm). (12), 389, (3) pp. With double-page-sized engraved frontispiece (G. Wingendorp sc., bound after p. 8), 12 engravings in the text, and 139 woodcuts in the text (wants the engraved portrait). 18th century full calf with giltstamped red label to gilt spine in seven compartments. All edges red.


First edition of this description of the important natural-historical and ethnological collection assembled by the famous Danish physician and naturalist Worm (1588-1654), forming the nucleus of the museum he founded, one of the first natural history museums ever established. The double-page frontispiece (sometimes counted as an additional engraved title page) shows his natural history collection inboxes, on shelves and hanging from walls and ceiling. This plentiful text illustrations show exotic as well as Scandinavian animals, plants, fossils, ethnological trophies, archeological discoveries, etc. For many items in the mineralogical and chemical section, the Arabic names are given (such as Borax or "Baurach", Alkali, Tinkur, etc.). Among the exotic flora are many plants endemic to the Middle East and Arabia, including the "Nabuch Arabum", the "Nux indica" (with reference to Avicenna), the date palm, pistachio ("ex Persia, Arabia & Syria"), gum arabic etc.

Binding slightly scuffed in places, but well preserved. Slight browning and brownstaining to interior, mainly confined to blank margins. A few early marginalia and underlinings in ink (trimmed by binder's knife when rebound in the later 18th century). As virtually all copies available for comparison, ours lacks the portrait (to be bound after the preliminaries).


Nissen, ZBI 4473. Willems 772 ("Description raisonnée du cabinet d'histoire naturelle formé par le savant danois Olaus Worm").

Art.-Nr.: BN#45722 Schlagwörter: , ,