This exquisite botanical engraving with old hand-coloring is from Daniel Rabel & Maria Sibylla Merian’s work entitled Histoire Generale des Insectes de Surinam et de toute l’Europe… Troisieme edition revue, corrigee et considerablement augmentee par M. Buch’oz… a laquelle on a joint une troisieme parti qui traite des plus belles fleurs. The work was the combination of Merian & Rabel’s artwork by Buc’hoz & Desnos into this 1771 printing. The work was published in Paris by Chez L. C. Desnos in 1771.
The work is the rarest of Desnos’s extraordinary publications. It is an unacknowledged fourth edition of Daniel Rabel’s Theatrum Florae. It includes all 69 of the plates that are present in the first three editions. “The plates in Theatrum florae are indeed magnificent… While the images clearly owe much to the earlier florilegia of Vallet and de Bry, certain illustrations stand out due to their exceptional artistic quality and almost scientific realism…” ( Oak Spring Flora)
Rabel’s name was omitted from the work and earlier editions. He only began getting the credit and re-attribution of this work to him in the last 60 years. Blunt considered Rabel to be one of the two greatest French botanical artists of the 17th century, noting that his work, along with that of his successor Nicolas Robert, was ‘consummate in its perfection’ (The Art of Botanical Illustration p.114).