Taschen Seba: Cabinet of Natural Curiosities

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Albertus Seba’s catalog of natural specimens is one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements. This collection gathers all his extraordinary illustrations of strange and exotic plants, snakes, corals, as well as dragons, and many more.

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The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time. Though scientists of his era often collected natural specimens for research purposes, Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (1665–1736) was unrivaled in his passion. His amazing collection of animals, plants, and insects from all around the world earned him international fame.

In 1731, after decades of collecting, Seba commissioned careful and often scenic illustrations of every specimen. With these meticulous drawings, he arranged for the publication of a four-volume catalog, covering the entire collection from strange and exotic plants to snakes, frogs, crocodiles, shellfish, corals, birds, and butterflies, as well as creatures that are now extinct.

Taken from a rare hand-coloured original, the best-selling collection features an introduction that contextualizes the fascinating tradition of natural collections to which Seba’s curiosities belonged.