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The first de-luxe copy on the market since the Plesch copy

Sweert, Emanuel. Florilegium amplissimum et selectissimum, quo non, tantum varia diversorum florum prestantissimorum et nunquam antea exhibitorum genera, sed et rarae quamplurimae Indicarum plantarum, et radicum formae, ad vivum partibus duabus, quatuor etiam linguis offeruntur et delineatur.

Amsterdam, 1647[-1654].

Royal folio (450:290 mm). 20 unnumbered ff. (including printed half-title and last blank f.). With engraved, ill. title page and engraved portrait in contemporary colour heightened in gold, 110 engraved plates with 560 plant images, and 110 blank interleaves; all in splendid contemp. colour with the exception of four uncoloured plates. Contemp. vellum with triple frame of fillets, gilt-stamped corner fleurons, and decorative central ornament.

The rarest and most sought-after edition of this florilegium, first published under this title in 1620, and the second known de-luxe copy in the publisher's original colouring and binding. The Liechtenstein Collection described their identical copy as such a "de-luxe-copy, coloured and bound by the publisher, who treated several of the atlases he published in the same style" (The Magnificent Botanical Library of the Stiftung für Botanik, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, collected by the late Arpad Plesch. Sotheby's, Mar 15, 1976, lot 727, with ill.). Except for the present copy and that of the Plesch collection cited above ("plates cut close & mounted", ibid.), no further de-luxe copies of the 1647 edition could be established. The colouring of the copy last auctioned at Christie's (slight loss to illustrations and text; Christie's NY, June 4, 1997, lot 143, with ill., USD 48,300) cannot be compared with the above-mentioned copies and is certainly not executed by the publisher.

Sweert was a merchant in objets d'art, especially rare flowers, and served as director of the gardens of Emperor Rudolph II, who had originally commissioned the work. The plates follow de Bry's florilegium, which in turn is based upon that of Vallet. "[...] insunt tamen passim novae: Iris Swertii, Gladiolus iridifolius, Amaryllis orientalis" (Pritzel). "The work is notable for the many fine plates of bulbous varieties, particularly tulips, and its popularity led to five subsequent editions" (de Belder). While the much more common preceding edition, published in Frankfurt under a slightly different title in 1612, was "actually a sale catalogue for plants to sell during the Frankfurt fair" (Hunt), the later editions - such as the present one - constitute "true florilegia intended for the connoisseur and the scientist" (Marshall & Junk, cat. 283, no. 125 [uncoloured copy of the 1620 edition]).

Dedication, preface, and copious indices all complete in German, Dutch, French, and Latin.

Back cover with almost imperceptibly restored defect to vellum. Interior evenly browned; plate 19 with slight tear (professionally restored). Altogether a well-preserved and splendidly coloured copy.

Nissen BBI 1921. Pritzel 9073. Cf. Hunt 196 and de Belder 346 (both citing the 1612 ed.).