Nybrogatan 32, Stockholm
Category: Illustrated Books, Prints
RARE BIRD PLATES. SPARRMAN, ANDERS. Museum Carlsonianum, in quo novas et selectas aves, coloribus ad vivum brevique descriptione illustratas, suasu et sumptibus generosissimi possessoris, exhibet. Holmiae (Stockholm) (ex typographia Regia) 1786-89. (Lacking 20 plates).
Folio (430x250 mm. for the title, 477x320 mm. for binding). 80 engraved plates of which 73 are hand-coloured (lacking 20 plates, about 30 plates partly with dampstains or spotting/foxing, mostly in last part, a few with marginal tears, some foxing or minor spotting to margins; part of text dampstained and spotted, otherwise some foxing). The plates were engraved by Fredrik Akrel after drawings by Jonas Carl Linnerhielm, who also coloured the engravings. Most plates and text leaves uncut as issued and on thick paper. The text was written by Anders Sparrman.
Sizes vary as most plates are uncut as issued.
20th century half calf binding, richly gilt spine with gilt titles, slightly worn (Ivar Forsbergs bindery, Stockholm).
Half title, title, preface, Elenchus Avium (1 leaf) 25 leaves of plate descriptions (1 leaf to each plate), plate 1-24. (Lacking plate 25).
Fasc. II. 1787. Plate 26-39, 41-50. (Lacking plate 40).
Fasc. III. 1788. Half title (large paperloss), title, Elenchus Avium (1 leaf), 25 leaves of plates descriptions, plate 60, 63, 67-69, 74-75. (Lacking plates 51-59, 61-62, 64-66, 70-73).
Fasc. IV. 1789. Half title, title, Elenchus Avium (1 leaf), 25 leaves of plates descriptions, plate 76-100. (lacking textleaf to LXXVII).
Lacking 20 plates, 3 leaves of Elenchus Avium in the first fasc., fasc. II lacking half title, title, index and 25 pages of text.
Nissen, IVB:889; Anker, Bird books and bird art, 481; Dal, Svensk zoologisk litteratur pp. 105 ff.
Anders Sparrman (1748-1820) was one of Linneaus' deciples, and perhaps most famous for his account of the travels with captain Cook in 1772-76. Back in Sweden he was commissioned to publish the birds from the extensive collections of Johan Gustav von Carlson (1743-1801) on his estate Mälby, in the province of Södermanland.
The work was published in four parts in 1786-89, comprising 100 plates. About 20 plates more were also engraved which was meant to be a fifth part, but they were never published and therefore extremely rare. They were sold at the auction of his estate and probably bought by some dealer who made candy cones of the plates!
Museum Carlsonianum is the first large illustrated work on birds to use the Linnaean nomenclature. Most of the species are birds from countries far away, many depicted and described for the first time, which makes the scientific value of this work considerable.
About 25 of these plates were also used in Sparrman's later work "Svensk Ornithologie", published in 1806-1817.
This beautiful bird book was printed in a small edition and is rarely seen on the market.
Provenance: Nils G. Ahlin (Ulriksfors, Sweden, owned the largest private book collection in north of Sweden, about 6000 volumes).
Erik Hallqvist, Östersund (born 1887), bookstore (the grandfather of the current owner), had a bookshop since 1907. He bought Ahlin's collection in 1942 and was interviewed in Östersund-Posten on January 28: "The public may have an idea of the size of the collection, when I mention that I needed 14 fully loaded taxis to get the books home".