[Nuremberg]: 1750-1773. 10 parts in one volume, folio (518 x 353 mm). 3 mezzotint portraits of Trew, G. D. Ehret and J. J. Haid, one engraved general title, heightened in red and gold, 100 hand-colored engraved plates by Johann Jacob Haid and Johann Elias Haid after Georg Dionysius Ehret, each with the first word of the caption heightened in gold. Contemporary half calf, spine gilt. Rebacked, with the old spine laid down, corners repaired; some very minor occasional spotting. Provenance: purchased from August Laube, 1967. From the Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow. Item #401774
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE GREATEST EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY BOTANICAL COLOR-PLATE BOOKS.
Trew and Ehret's celebrated collaboration, magnificently colored by hand. Nissen considered the Plantae selectae to be the finest botanical work ever printed in Germany. Trew, physician at Nuremberg and amateur botanist, admired the talent and skill of his younger countryman, Georg Ehret, a gardener and flower painter. This work is their major collaboration, although Ehret did contribute several drawings to Trew's Hortus nitidissimus. Ehret is one of the great painters of flowering plants in the eighteenth century, and all 100 plates of the Plantae selectae were painted by him. Trew died in 1769, leaving the last three parts uncompleted. The work was finished by Benedict Christian Vogel, Professor of Botany at the University of Altdorf.
The work was conceived as early as 1742 when Trew wrote to Christian Thran in Carlsruhe: "Every year I receive some beautifully painted exotic plants (by Ehret) and have already more than one hundred of them, which with other pieces executed by local artists, should later on, Deo volente, constitute an appendicem to Weinmann’s publication but will, I hope, find a better reception than his". In 1748, agreement was reached that Johann Jacob Haid from Augsburg should provide the engravings, and the first part appeared in 1750. Trew died before the text of the last three decuriae was written and before the illustrations of Decuriae IX and X were printed. The work was then completed by Benedict Christian Vogel. In a letter in Latin to Trew, Linnaeus expressed his opinion: "The miracles of our century in the natural sciences are your work of Ehret’s plants, Edward’s work of birds and Roesel’s of insects, nothing equal was seen in the past or will be in the future" (Gerta Calmann, Ehret Flower Painter Extraordinary, 1977, 9.97). This copy with the general title and without the 10 section titles. Other copies include the 10 section titles but not the general title. This copy without the very rare supplement by Vogel (published in two decuriae in 1790-1792). Dunthorne 309; Great Flower Books, p.78; Hunt 539; Nissen BBI 1997; Pritzel 9499; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 15.131.