Regenfuss Franz Michael

Choix de Coquillages and Crustacés, Copenhagen, Godische, 1758

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Regenfuss (Franz Michael)

Auserlesne Schnecken, Muscheln und andre Schaalthiere auf allerhöchsten Befehl Seiner Königlichen Majestät nach den Originalen gemalt, in Kupfer gestochen, und mit natrlichen Farben erleuchtet. Choix de Coquillages et de Crustacés peints d'après nature, gravés en taille-douce et illuminés de leurs vraies couleurs.

Published in Copenhagen, Andreas Hartwig Godsiche, 1758. Volume I (all published), broadside.
Half-title in French and German, two letterpress titles, one in French, a second in German, parallel text in French and German. Mezzotint portrait frontispiece of Frederic V, King of Denmark and Sweden, printed in sanguine, 12 hand-colored engraved plates by Regenfuss, mezzotint head-and tailpiece, printed in sanguine and finished by hand.
FIRST EDITION, SECOND ISSUE OF THE LARGEST AND MOST SUMPTUOUS OF ALL CONCHOLOGICAL WORKS, including images of 145 species "peinte avec la plus grande perfection" (Brunet). Regenfuss, a German painter and engraver, began to contemplate the publication of a book on shells and crustaceans in the 1740s.
"He issued an advertisement in 1748 in which the study of shells was greatly recommended and invited subscriptions for his forthcoming book. The text, which had been supplied by Friedrich Christian Lesser... did not satisfy Regenfuss and halted the work temporarily. Through the mediation of the Dane, Count A.G. Moltke, and the King of Denmark and Norway, Frederic V (1723-1766), Regenfuss went to Copenhagen where he was appointed engraver to the King and was able to continue with his book. He produced twelve plates with figures of shells, all of them drawn by himself and colored mostly by his wife [Margaret Helene]. In 1758, after further setbacks with the text, to which several persons contributed, the book was finally published... [It] was an immediate success, principally... for the superb quality of its plates and, perhaps, for the size of the book itself which has a larger surface area than any conchological work published before or since." (Dance, pp. 59-60). Brunet gives a detailed collation of the two issues, and goes on to mention an intended second volume: "On a gravé 12 pl. destinées à un 2e vol., pour lequel O.-F. Mller avait préparé un texte, mais elles n'ont pas été publiées." In an intriguing note the cataloguer of both of the BM(NH) copies records that "the engravings in the text are printed in red (an indication that the copies were royal presentations), the impression in ordinary copies being in blue".
Price on request.