Beschreibung

PETER WOLFART
(1675 – 1726)

Historiae naturalis Hassiae inferioris pars prima qua potiora & elegantiora hujus fossilia, figurata aeque ac certa quadam & regulari figura carentia, eaq; vel lapidea vel metallica, ita in lucem protrahuntur publicam necessariisq; iconismis illustrantur, ut cuilibet curioso in illis conchas genuinas marinas, plantas, pisces aliaq; naturae admiranda cernere & per haec magnum creatorem laudare liceat. i.e. Der Natur-Geschichte des Nieder-Fürstenthums Hessen erster Theil worinnen dessen vornehmste und zierlichste sowol gebildete als ungebildete, zu Theils in Stein, zu Theils in Metallen bestehende Fossilia dergestalten an des Tages Licht hervor gebracht werden, dass ein jeder Curiosus an denen ersten veritablen See-Muscheln, Pflantzen, Fische, auch andere Seltenheiten der Natur täglich beschauen und dadurch den grossen Schöpffer preisen kan.

Folio (360×232 mm). 52 pp. With a frontispiece by J. A. Thelott and 25 (2 folding) plates by C. W. Eberlin, I. N. Prizier and I. A. Corvinus, all engraved by Corvinus. Contemporary wallet-binding of tanned cowskin, lettered paper label on the flap. Binding slightly rubbed, small wormtrack at foot of cover, fly-leaf and frontispiece. Small mended perforations in leafs E-G2 with loss of some characters. One folding plate cropped at head. Kassel, Henrich Harmes, 1719.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Nissen ZBI 4438 – Cat. Bergakademie Freiberg 725; Poggendorff II, 1358; Hirsch/H. V,980; Friedrich Frhr. Waitz von Eschen, Peter Wolfart und die naturhistorische Forschung am frühen Collegium Carolinum, in: PHILIPPIA, 14/3 , pp. 207-218, Kassel 2010.
Very scarce first edition in a fine wallet-binding. The work is dedicated to Landgrave Carl von Hessen, who probably commissioned or at least significantly promoted the lavish opus. Only this first part was published, and it deals mostly with paleontology, although there are two plates of minerals (I and XXIII). The specimens described were found by the author in the vicinity of Hessia in Germany. The publication is particularly impressive for its excellent copperplates by Corvinus which show, apart from minerals an fossils, ten prehistoric finds (XXIII and n° 10 of XXII). The fine allegorical frontispiece by the Augsburg artist Tholett was reused in the second edition of 1726 with the title Historia naturalis lapidum, imprimis figuratorum, Hassiae Inferioris. The main text in Latin, devoted in detail to scientific literature, is supplemented with German summaries providing additional practice-oriented information on mining and metallurgy.Peter Wolfart studied medicine in Giessen where he met Michael Bernhard Valentini (1657-1729) who introduced him to natural science and the study of fossils. In 1707 he was appointed court physician in Kassel and in 1708 professor of anatomy and experimental physics. Upon accession to office, Wolfart also took over the direction of the landgrave‘s collection of minerals and fossils, an important fund, which in 1687 had particularly impressed Leibniz on his first visit to Kassel. The portrait of Wolfart called for by Cobres (II, 739) and Nissen is either extraordinarily rare or most likely a phantom. [369077].