This beautiful botanical mezzotint is from Johann Weinmann’s Phytanthoza Iconographia (or Duidelyke Vertoning…). It was published in Amsterdam by Zacharias Romberg between 1736 and 1748. This is the Dutch language edition of the 18th century botanical master-work.
The work contained 1,025 mezzotint engravings, printed in color with the finished color applied by hand. “The copperplates ( ) were printed according to Johannes Teyler’s invention, patented 1688; they are engraved in combination with mezzotint printed in colour and finished by hand” (Landwehr 212).
It was the first published work to include engravings by the greatest botanical artist of the eighteenth century– Georg Dionysus Ehret. It provided one of the most comprehensive botanical references of the 18th century. It also included work from B. Seuter, J.E. Ridinger, J.J. Haid, N. Asamin, & others.
Based on Weinmann’s collection of plants, and financed by him, this is the first complete edition of what amounts to a comprehensive iconography of all the flowers, fruit and vegetables in cultivation in early-18th century Europe. Georg Dionysius Ehret’s pivotal contribution to the work is nowhere acknowledged as the artist parted with Weinmann after producing 500 designs. Weinmann, an apothecary from Regensburg, was the organiser of this huge undertaking, but the work was financed by Bartholomaeus Seuter, one of the engravers. The plates became an important source for copyists, appearing, for instance, in a number of Meissen designs. Many plates are ‘of particular interest on account of the colour printing, especially the plates of Aloes and Cactus depicted in pots of different designs, and the folding plates of gourds’ (Dunthorne). ‘The mezzotint process used [in the present work]… had been invented by Johann Teyler in the Netherlands around 1688. As practised here by Bartholomaeus Seuter (1678-1754) and Johann Elias Ridinger (1698-1767), it was really a combination of etching and mezzotint, which made possible delicate lines and a very fine grain. The addition of hand-tinting brought about unusual and subtle effects. Some of the best work was done in later volumes by Johann Jakob Haid (1704-1767)’ (Hunt)