With great pleasure that we are offering a few superb engravings from an exceedingly rare and highly prized work, Nozeman’s 'Nederlandsche Vogelen' 1770-1829
Cornelius Nozeman, (1721-1786) a Dutch minister of the Remonstrant church and an ornithologist provided the inspiration for this finest Dutch work on ornithology and one of the greatest of all time. It was a unique collaborative effort of two Dutch masters, and a project of huge scope and ambition, taking over 60 years to complete. The renowned engraver & artist, Christiaan Sepp drew the illustrations & Nozeman wrote the text for the first two volumes.
The first volume was published by Sepp's son, Jan Christiaan, a bookseller with a strong background in natural history & engraving. In 1775, Christiaan Sepp died & Jan Christiaan completed the second volume. In 1786 Nozeman died, with most of the descriptions for the second volume written (published in 1789). Thus, it was the first two volumes which were directly created by these renowned ornithologists, artists & engravers.
Martinus Houttuyn continued the work for the third volume (published in 1797). Houttuyn died in 1798, and it was not until 1809 that the fourth volume was published, without the name of the writer. Interestingly enough, the whole venture was completed in 1829 by Jan Sepp, the son of Jan Christiaan with assistance from Coenraad Jacob Temminck. Thus, three generations of the illustrious Sepp family were involved in this project of six decades, a truly remarkable feat.
These super-sized, hand coloured copper plate engravings, superbly composed and meticulously engraved and hand colored were an expensive proposition indeed. Upon the final publication, it was the costliest book ever published, selling for 525 Dutch Florins in 1829 or over $6,000 in today’s currency, a great sum at that time let alone now.
References: Fine Bird Books p. 129; Classic Natural History Prints p. 20-23. Also National Library of the Netherlands website.
Each copper engraving measures approximately 14 1/4 inches wide by 20 1/2 inches & is on strong, soft white, chain lined paper in almost pristine condition, with little evidence of the passage of some 236 years. They have not been cleaned, restored or altered in any way, so they are exactly as published almost a quarter of a millennium ago! Neither have they been trimmed, so they are the full original folio sheet size. There are very few fox marks and the quality of the hand colouring is superb, with an exquisite style and beauty utterly characteristic of this great team of artists, engravers and printers.