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FRISCH, Johann Leonhard (1666–1743)

Beschreibung von allerley Insecten in Teutsch-Land, nebst Nützlichen Anmerckungen und nöthigen Abbildungen von diesem kriechenden und fliegenden inländischen Gewürme, zur Bestätigung und Fortsetzung der gründlichen Entdeckung, so einige von der Natur dieser Creaturen heraus gegeben, und zur Ergänzung und Verbesserung der andern. Erster - dreyzehender Theil.
Berlin, verlegts Christ. Gottl. Nicoali, [1721-1753].

This richly illustrated work is one of the first and most important works on practical entomology of the pre-Linnaean period. It was issued in 13 parts over a period of eighteen years (1720–1738) and reprinted at various dates. This is a mixed edition with the head-title leaf dated 1730. Frisch is best remembered for his ornithological work, Vorstellung der Vögel Deutschlands, – ”one of the most enjoyable of all bird books”. Nissen calls Frisch’s insect book the first exhaustive description of German insects. It was based on his own observations and studies and written with a good sense of humour in German, not in Latin – ”damit die Leute, die keine langen Untersuchungen in Lateinischer Sprache lieben oder denen die Griechischen Namen zum Ekel sind, es mit Nutzen lesen können.” Some of the parts have long prefaces with commentaries on Leeuwenhoek, Swammerdam, Hooke, Redi, Mouffet, Hufnagel, Goedart, Joublot, Aldrovandi, and others. The fine and detailed illustrations of insects and the thirteen charming vignettes are engraved by Frisch’s sons after his own drawings. Frisch’s excellent studies of insects were long neglected, much due to to the following Linnaean era, which left aside biological observations in favour of systematic classification. A major part of the book is devoted to noxious insects with practical hints how to fight them. To be successful Frisch stresses the importance of keeping balance in nature. His thorough observations make him an early exponent of ecology, of which there are many examples in the book. There is a vivid description of the ”wild” cricket, useful in getting rid of the ”house” cricket. He describes how to protect cheese and pork from maggots in strewing salt on it. He also deals with different sounds created by various insects. Linnaeus owned a copy of this copiously illustrated work, purchased in Uppsala in 1730, and quoted from it frequently. He also honoured the author by naming an insect Phalaena Frischella. ”Es ist ein herzerfrischendes Buch” (Bodenheimer).

Collation: Part I. (1730): (6), 40, tabula I-XII on three folding plates, title printed in red and black; II. (1753): (4), 45, (1) blank, tabula I-XI on three plates; III. (1721): (6), 39, (1) blank, with 21 tabula on three folding plates; IV. (1736): (8), 45, (1) blank, tabula I-XXV on three plates; V. (1736): (6), 51, (5) register, tabula I-XXVII on three plates; VI. (1740): (12), 34, tabula I-XV on three plates; VII. (1728): (10), 31, (1) blank, tabula I-XXII on three plates; VIII. (1730): (8), 41, (1) register, Tabula I-XXI on three plates; XI. (1730): (8), 37, (1) register, tabula I-XXII on three plates; X. (1732): (8), 25, (5) register, tabula I-XXI on three plates; XI. (1734): (8), 34, tabula I-XXIV on three plates; XII. (1736): (8), 44, 23 tabula on three plates; XIII, (1738): (10), 35, (4) register, (1) blank, tabula I-XXIX on three plates. There are together 283 tabulas (each with numerous figures) printed on 39 leaves. Each part has its separate title leaf and opens with a charming engraved headpiece.

Binding: Bound in one volume. Contemporary sprinkled half calf, yellow spine label with gilt lettering.

Provenance: Johan Salberg (1741–1810) with his signature on front fly-leaf.

References: Horn-Schenkling I, 386; Cole Library 1292 1292; Bodenheimer, Geschichte der Entomologie, I, p 448 ff.

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