Iconic Catalogue of an Important Collection on Natural Sciences, 1782, The Breslauer Copy

J.[oseph] P.[aul] COBRES: DELICIAE COBRESIANAE. 2 vol. Illustrated title page and 2 text vignettes with etchings by Joseph Franz von Göz. Augsburg and Ulm, 1782.

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J.[oseph] P.[aul] COBRES: DELICIAE COBRESIANAE. Büchersammlung zur Naturgeschichte [A Collection of Books about Natural History]. 2 volumes. With illustrated title page (vol. 1), as well as 2 text vignettes (vol. 1 and 2) after drawings and etched by Joseph Franz von Göz. Augsburg: Johann Andreas Brinnhausser for the author (sold on consignment by Stettin in Ulm), 1782.

8vo. [1 leaf (pre-title)], [1 leaf (engraved title)], [1 (presentation leaf)], XXVIII p., p. 1-470; [1 leaf (pre-title)], p. 471-956, [1 leaf (errata)]. Copper engraving and letterpress, in original printed ornamental paper wrappers with titles on spine, text block stiched with two threads each.

Unique mixed set of this iconic catalogue by Joseph Paul Cobres, containing an exhaustive description of his most important library on the natural sciences.

Contents: The book collection of Cobres, an Augsburg banker, collector of natural science artefacts and bibliophile, included more than 1.700 entries of books and magazines (often consisting of multiple volumes or issues) on botany, zoology, mineralogy and many related subjects (e.g. on travels and voyages) from the early 16th to the late 18th century. His extensive collection became an important place of study for scholars of the region (e. g. Gottlieb Tobias Wilhelm) and his unique library an undispenable tool for their research. For documenting it Cobres divided his library into subject sections and then compiled it by size and publication year, as well as accurately collated and insightfully commented each title (with remarks e.g. about rarity and quality of text and illustrations, often unavailable elsewhere). In addition he prefixed the catalogue with a long preface and tables to explain his classification. This comprehensive approach makes present catalogue one of the first of it's kind and a significant reference work until today.

Most remarkably the „Deliciae Cobresianae“ also comprise a section about »Musea« (Wunderkammern) with 107 titles, noted by Grinke (see ref.) as one of the earliest bibliographies of museum catalogues.

Due to the bankruptcy of his business in the course of the Coalition Wars Cobres tried to sell his collection and library to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (who he was a member of) and later to the city of Augsburg, but only partly succeeded (Ebert, see ref.) After his death the inheritors of Cobres transferred a mortgage to his assets, which lead to a subsequent sell out of his collection and library, e.g. by Augsburg bookseller Wilhelm Birett.

Illustration: The illustrated title, drawn and etched by Joseph Franz von Göz (also name »The German Hogarth«) shows an allegoric scene incorporating the regnae naturae (animals, plants and minerals), the text vignettes depict a still life around a writer's desk and a group of scholars at work (with the self ironic caption: „Jeder nach seinem Temperament“ (Everybody According to his Temper).

Provenance: Copy of Antiquarian bookseller Bernard H. Breslauer, sold at Christie’s in 2005 (see ref.) - Vol. 1: SUStB Augsburg, with crossed out ex-library stamp on presentation leaf as well as 20th ct. release stamp on bottom of p. 470. Former copy of Grey Friar and Vicar Clemens Obwexer (1726-1788), a relative of Cobres, with the author's inscription on presentation leaf. - Vol. 2: Lambach Abbey (Upper Austria), with two 19th ct. ex-library stamps on pre-title and p. 471.

Condition: Spine of vol. 1 with some small faults, edges and corners in parts slightly worn and occasionally torn, wrappers and edges in parts stained, title leaf with water stain at bottom (etching not affected), a small number of pages finger-stained. The decorative paper used for covering the cardboard wrappers of vol. 1 and 2 slightly differs in colour and pattern, the ornamental and title printing however is the same. Otherwise well preserved mixed ex-library set with uncut wide margins, due to it’s remarkable provenance unique.

References: Christies 1594 (Bibliotheca Bibliographica Breslaueriana II), lot 705 (quotes Jonathan Hill, Cat. 60, 1991, no. 253 for the sale of Cobres' library by Birett, wrongly quotes inscription of vol. 1 and confuses provenance of vol. 1 and 2); Ebert, Allgemeines bibliographisches Lexikon, Bd. 1 (1821), no. 4858; Grinke, From Wunderkammer to Museum, 1984, no. 54; Krieg/Braecklein, Bibliotheca Lexigraphica, 1980, Nr. 279; Peignot, p. 337; Petzoldt, p. 545; Staffleu/Cowan 1151; Taylor, Book Catalogues, p. 137; Thieme/Becker, Bd. 14 (1921), S. 346 zit. WBIS/DBA II 461, 210-212 (Göz); Waller 18238; Wellcome II:362.