Hortus Sanitatis, 1497

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Newsletter 2015/1
February 2015

Recently the following items have been added to the collections:

in 2012 we started the “archive” giving access to an important number of digitalized crystallography catalogs. Last year we added a transcription of letters addressed by Dr Jean Démeste to Romé de l'Isle. Through the courtesy of Prof. A.-M. Fransolet (ULg), we now have the opportunity to show some original dedicated photographs of eminent mineralogists and crystallographers: Henri Buttgenbach and Giuseppe Cesàro (both from Liège University), E.S. Dana (Yale University) and Alfred Lacroix (MNHN Paris). We also present an interesting and pleasant photograph of an excursion of Liège geologists dating from the early 20th century.

Crystal models
we recently added some hollow wooden models produced in the mid-19th century by Oscar Libotte in Liège.

we are very happy to announce the addition of three important and very interesting 18th century books from a private collection:

  • the finely illustrated natural history book by Buc'hoz Premiere [-Seconde] centurie de planches enluminées et non enluminées representant au naturel ce qui se trouve de plus intéressant et de plus curieux parmi les animaux, les vegetaux, et les mineraux...
    It is a gallery of rarities from the three kingdoms of nature. There are 60 botanical plates, 80 zoological plates and 60 geological plates of minerals and fossils. This work should be regarded as a late manifestation of the Wunderkammer tradition, similar to Seba's work of a few decades earlier, although Buchoz's collection is conceptual rather than an actual cabinet such as Seba's. The magnificently hand-colored plates in this work were produced by the foremost engravers of the time: Desmoulins, G. de Favane, C. Bacquoy, Dupin fils, C. Fessard, etc .

  • a superb copy of Sir William Hamilton's Campi Phlegraei and its supplement with a total of 59 beautiful hand-colored plates. The 'Campi Phlegraei' is probably the most impressive work on volcanism ever published. Many of the etchings after drawings done on the spot by Hamilton and Fabris resemble original water-colors representing the magnificent South Italian landscape, the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in 1779, the fiery fields of Campi Phlegraei and Hamilton's rich collections of lavas, ashes and minerals produced by volcanism in the Naples vicinity.

  • the rare Museum Tessianum catalog prepared by Carolus Linnaeus and describing the collection of minerals and fossils, which Count Carl Gustaf Tessin (1695-1770), Linnaeus' benefactor, had stored in his castle. Tessin compiled the catalog and it was edited for publication by Linnaeus who sets forth here his beliefs concerning the value and arrangement of museums.

We recall to all our readers that their contribution (pictures and information) to the Virtual Museum of the History of Mineralogy is always greatly appreciated. We also welcome advertisements for the "museum shop"; this service is entirely free. Have a look at our shop; perhaps you will find the book or the instrument you were looking for since years.

Claude Hootelé, Paul Tambuyser