Crantz‘ illustrated study about cruciferae, 1769, Count Abensberg-Traun copy
Heinrich CRANTZ: CLASSIS CRVCIFORMIVM. With 3 engraved plates. Leipzig: 1769.
Heinrich Johann Nepomuk CRANTZ: CLASSIS CRVCIFORMIVM emendata cvm figvris aeneis in necessarivm Instit. Rei herbariae svpplementum. With copper engraved title vignette and presentation leaf, as well as 3 folded copper engraved plates depicting 16 illustrations of plants, the latter drawn and engraved by Augustin CIPPS. Leipzig: Johannes Paul Kraus 1769.
8to. 144 pages [not numb. p. 1-5 (title leaf, presentation leaf, 1st p. with text)], p. 6-139, [5 not numb p. (index generum & synonymorum)]. Contemporary full calf leather binding with rich gold tooling incorporating ornamental lines and frames on spine and boards, gilt title on spine, full gilt edges, paste paper end leafs, as well as green ribbon bookmark.
Austrian Count Rudolph Abensberg’s copy of a richly illustrated study about cruciferae by Heinrich Crantz.
Contents: Heinrich Crantz (1722-99), originally an expert for obstretics trained by Gerard van Swieten (whose most senior disciple he was), later became professor for physiology and materia medica in Vienna, invented scientific balneology and finally also gained profound reputation as a botanical scholar, in particular by further systemising plants like the cruciferae family.
Illustration: The drawings and engravings to illustrate Crantz‘ findings are skilfully executed by Augustin Cipps, a prolific creator of maps, zoological as well as botanical drawings and wood engravings, who worked for a number of Vienna editors and was also a trained physicist. Cipps nowadays remains known notably for his portrait of the named Van Swieten, of whom he also was a pupil of. Crantz titled the plants engraved by Cipps „Antiscorbuticae“. Only a few years later Sir John Pringle, then President of the Royal Society, would probably be inspired by this denomination when he named another plant of the cruciferae family, the Kerguelen cabbage discovered by James Cook’s Surgeon William Anderson in 1776, as »Pringlea Antiscorbutica«.
Provenance: Rudolph, Count of Abensberg-Traun (1872-1954), member of an Austrian noble family, with his engraved pictorial ex-libris incorporating the family’s coat of arms on the front paste-down and his owner’s stamp on the title page.
Condition: Cover occasionally slightly scratched, worn and with some minor spots and traces of worms, front paste-down and front leaves also slightly wormy, one edge of plate no. 2 with tight cut (signature of engraver slightly affected), otherwise well preserved copy indeed, in a superb binding decorated with skilful hand-tooling by an unnamed master.
Rarity: Though not particularly scarce in libraries, present only edition of this work has been and still is hard to find on the market; JBP, JAP and APO show only 4 copies at auction since 1906.
References: Pritzel 54/2046; Stafleu I, 1269; Wurzbach, 3 Tl. (1858), S. 25f. (Crantz); Thieme/Becker, Bd. 7 (1912), p. 346 cit. WBIS/DBA II 226,368 (Cipps).