Icones Lignorum Exoticorum et Nostratium Germanicorum

Plate from Icones Lignorum Exoticorum et Nostratium Germanicorum
Adoption Amount: $1,000
Category: Preserve for the Future
Location: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library

Icones lignorum exoticorum et nostratium Germanicorum : ex arboribus, arbusculis et fruticibus varii generis collectorum

By Jan Christiaan Sepp. Nurnberg: In Commission der Seeligmannischen Kunsthandlung, 1773-1778.

This highly unusual book's title translates to: A Representation of Inland and Foreign Wood: As Well Trees as [sic] Shrubs which are Collected by the Lovers of Natural History in their Cabinets of Natural Curiosities for Use and Pleasure… Exotic and rare wood samples were often artifacts that were part of a collection of curiousities, as well as the woods used in crafting a cabinet of curiousities. This is a survey of indigenous woods from around the world. Examples of exotic trees and roots are shown on 556 hand–painted wood specimens on the 66 engraved plates identifying each piece. Cabinetmakers and their patrons would have found this book invaluable for selecting and identifying different woods of contrasting colors and wood grain patterns for designs using veneers and for marquetry. This is an important source of information about the knowledge and use of wood in the 18th century.             

Condition and Treatment: 

This book features a late 18th century half bound leather and marbled paper binding. The spine is detaching. There are hand colored plates throughout the text. Plates VII and IX are detaching at the gutter. Conservators will re-back the binding retaining the spine. The spine will be re-lined and the original spine re-attached. A custom enclosure will be created for this fragile item.

Discover more about this book in our Catalog.