Splendidly illustrated monograph on mining

Trebra, Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich von. Erfahrungen vom Innern der Gebirge, nach Beobachtungen gesammlet.

Dessau & Leipzig, auf Kosten der Verlagskasse für Gelehrte und Künstler, 1785.

Folio (260 x 382 mm). (6), X, 244 pp. With engraved title vignette, 4 engravings in the text, and 8 folding engraved plates (all in original hand colour, some raised with mineral dust). Contemporary marbled boards with green spine label. All edges red.


First edition of this famous, splendidly illustrated monograph on mining; also the first geological study of Germany's Harz region. Contains details on mineralogy, fossils, lodes, and mines, as well as "some excellent early observations on chemical geology; obviously inclined to afford those slow and inconspicuous changes in the earth crust the importance that they really deserve" (ADB). Also remarkable for the fine vignettes, engraved by G. M. Kraus after drawings by F. H. Spoerer. These vignettes, as well as Goethe's contributions to the entire work, are discussed extensively in Schmid, "Goethe und die Naturwissenschaften", no. 414f. Trebra (1740-1819) accompanied Goethe on his journey over the Harz and remained his advisor in mineralogical matters throughout his life. The plates, some of which are raised with ore dust, are based on drawings now in the Goethe-Nationalmuseum in Weimar.

Binding slightly rubbed and bumped along the raised bands; otherwise a very clean, crisp copy on superior paper. Includes the second illustration to plate V (Vb, mounted); the window in plate 2, providing a view of the lode in plate 3, lacks the flap as usual. Provenance: from the library of Pfannberg castle in Styria, bearing the stamp of the Austrian industrialist Franz Baron Mayr von Melnhof (1810-89, owner of the Donawitz ironworks and the Kapfenberg steel foundry) on pastedown and title.


Hoover 796. DSB XI, 455. Reichardt I, 136. Poggendorff II, 1127. Ferchl 541. Kippenberg 5736. ADB LIV, 708f.

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