Jacobus Houbraken after J. M. Quinkhard
Albertus Seba, Etzela Oostfrisius. Pharmacopoeus Amstelaedamensis.
12 x 17½ inches.
Albertus Seba was an internationally famous apothecary who travelled the world in search of unusual specimens to add to his collection of natural history. Initially he gathered curiosities on his travels to the East and West Indies but later he would meet ships as they docked in Amsterdam and offer medicines in exchange for specimens. He was born in Germany in 1665 but settled in Amsterdam where he died in 1736. His first collection of flora, fauna and mineral, reputedly the most remarkable of its day, was sold to Peter the Great in 1717 for the princely sum of 15,000 guilders. Seba was, however, an inveterate collector and soon embarked upon a second collection, which was eventually to surpass his earlier in both scale and interest. It is this collection that was catalogued and subsequently published as the Locupletissimi from 1735 onwards. Illustrated in the work are shells, corals, crabs, lobsters, snakes and all manner of animal and botanical subjects. It comprises one of the most ambitious and decorative series of plates illustrating natural history that has ever been produced. This fascinating portrait shows Seba at work surrounded by his samples