Johann Jacob Scheuchzer Physica Sacra 1731

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Scheuchzer Physica Sacra Tab 297: Cucumus, Melo
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Scheuchzer Physica Sacra Tab 18: Opus quintae Diei
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Johann Jacob Scheuchzer Physica Sacra

Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) was a physician by training, with a strong interest in natural history and paleontology. Born in Switzerland, the son of a physician, he studied at University in Germany & later returned to Zurich to take a professorship in Mathematics. Like many scientists of the day, he considered the Old Testament a factual account of the history of the earth. In his extensive travels he amassed one of the largest fossil collections of the 18th century. He hypothesized that all plants had perished in the flood described in the bible, & discovered what he believed to be the fossil of a human flood victim. In his masterpiece, Physica Sacra, he details his theory at length, using references to the 1611 King James Bible. The book was a sensation & was published simultaneously in Latin, German & French, each issue with exactly the same plates. His theories were not disproved until the work of Cuvier.

The superbly powerful illustrations were by well known artists of the day including Corvinus, Sperling & Linz. They represent the pinnacle of copper plate engraving, as well as depicting many subjects for the first time.

We are delighted to offer a selection of some of the finest prints from this work, many showing the origins of man as they were perceived in the 18th century. Each print is on strong softly aged hand made chain lined paper, some bearing crown watermarks & measuring 10 inches wide by 16 inches long, most with little foxing. A few may be slightly smaller.

The engravings have been masterfully hand colored for us by our colorist to render the prints superbly decorative. There is no descriptive text, but a copy of the title page will accompany each authentic copper engraving, almost 300 years old.

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