Catalogue of rare flowers to bring up to £40,000 in Germany

A rare copy of Fleurs du Printemps et de L'Este, a baroque florilegium (literally: 'gathering of flowers') from the early 17th century is to be sold at Ketterer Kunst.

The work is to be the prize lot in their Rare Books, Manuscripts, Autographs, Decorative Prints, Maritime and North German Art auction.

Plants had to be both rare and attractive to be recorded in the book. The florilegium contains 19 illustrations of tulips, which were the most valuable flowers by far in those days as an aesthetic perception of plants was growing in the 17th century, beyond interest merely in their medical  properties.

With an estimate of € 40.000 the manuscript counts among the auction's highlights.

Tulip illustration from Fleurs du Printemps et de L'Este
Tulip illustration from Fleurs du Printemps et de L'Este

Last year, we reported on one of Ketterer Kunst's other rare book sales in which the botanical text Phytanthoza-Iconographia by Weinmann was a key lot. The four volume set sold at close to its top estimate at €56,400 ($84,500).

Another botanical work will raise interest in the current sale: the Flora Danica.

The complete Danish edition of the first 29 issues of this most significant Scandinavian botanic work from 1766 will be sold in the upcoming auction. Even today it is still the most comprehensive account of Danish, Norwegian and northern German flora.

The estimate for this book with 1860 copper plates is at €15,000.

In the same auction is a Latin Book of Hours from the second half of the 15th century. The magnificent and richly illustrated manuscript on vellum from either France or Flanders was arranged in a way so that even laymen had easy access to its content.

The individual sections each begin with a caption in red and a large initial with an extremely appealing, high quality miniature.

The section of zoology is headed by Thomas Pennant's Zoologica Britannica. Britische Thierge-schichte.

The first Latin-German edition in the translation of the Nuremberg cultural historian Christoph Gottlieb Murr is a splendid work on Great Britain's birds and tetrapods (four-legged animals), it comprises 132 copper plates in an old colouring.

Published in the years between 1771 and 78, it will go under the hammer with an estimate of €28,000.

Thomas Whichcote's A Plan of Mathematical Learning Taught in the Royal Academy Portsmouth will be a delight not only for mathematicians. The unique manuscript book, with lavishly and thoroughly executed illustrations on shipping, was made in 1904 and covers all topics relevant for the navy, among them arithmetic, navigation, sailors' readings, mechanics and trigonometry. The guide price is €15,000.

Ketterer Kunst's auction will take place on May 17-18 in Hamburg.


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