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[LINNÉ, Carl von (1707-1778)] FERBER, Johan Eberhard

Hortus Agerumensis, exhibens plantas saltem rariores, exoticas & officinales, quas horto proprio intulit, secundum methodi Linnæi sexualem digestus.
Holmiæ, Peter G. Nyström, 1739.

First and only edition of this catalogue listing the plants in the pharmaceutical garden of J. E. Ferber at Agerum in the south of Sweden. The book is in fact written by Linnaeus even though he does not appear as author on the title page. In this work Linnaeus introduces for the first time his new sexual system of classification of plants in Sweden. In 1711, Johan Eberhard Ferber, apothecary to the Admiralty and the City of Karlskrona, established a large pharmaceutical garden on his estate at Agerum, some miles outside Karlskrona. By the time this catalogue was published, this garden had become one of the greatest in Sweden comparable ”to the Edens of Kings and Princes”. Besides the customary orangeries with exotic fruit trees and ornamental plants and flowers, Ferber had gone to great lengths and great expence to introduce medicinal plants from remote corners of the earth. Ferber had also collected specimens for his natural history museum such as shells, corals, fishes, amphibians, snakes, insects, minerals, fossils, birds of paradise, humming birds, bird’s eggs including that of the cassoway, unicorn’s horns, bezoar stones, penises from deer and walrus, elephant’s tusks, human foetuses, etc. The book was written in the context of Linnaeus’ return from his four-year stay in Holland, where he had ben appointed manager of the botanical garden at Hartecamp owned by the wealthy banker George Clifford, for whom Linnaeus compiled the Hortus Cliffortianus, the famous catalogue of the exotic plants found there. Linnaeus, who by now had made a name for himself on the continent, had a wish to publish a similar catalogue of a Swedish garden. He had never seen Ferber´s garden, but his old teacher at Växjö, Johan Rothman, had made a first draft of a list of the plants, and now passed the task on to his former pupil in order to accomodate his wishes. The Hortus Agerumensis can be said to be a collaboration of Ferber, Rothman and Linnaeus, to which a forth hand may be added, that of Olof Rudbeck the Younger, who re-read and revised Linnaeus´manuscript before it went to print. This little book is one of the greatest rarities to grace any Linnaeus collection.

Collation: Pp. (4), 76, (4).

Binding: Contemporary calf with richly gilt spine and marbled paste-downs.

References: Soulsby 340; Junk Rara, p 92; Fries, Linné, I, pp 273-4; Löwergren, Y. Naturaliekabinett i Sverige under 1700-talet, pp 71, 87; Johnsson , Pehr, ’Apotekare Ferber i Karlskrona och hans stora trädgård å Agerum’ in Sv. Farm. Tidskr. 25 (1921), pp 353-57; Drake, G. ’Medicinalväxterna i Agertums trädgård’, in Sv. Farm. Tidskr. 25 (1921) pp 337-42; 358-62, 506; Drake, G. ’Apotekare Ferbers museum’ in Sv. Farm. Tidskr. 26 (1922) pp 187-88, 198-200, 261-65; Waller 11506.

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