Offered for sale: Hand colored copper engraved print of Plate CL, depicting two butterfly species: Alcandor and Ganimedes
From: Cramer’s 1770s issues from Volume One of Papillons Exotiques
Printed on chain-linked watermarked paper
Size: 11 ¾” x 9” set in a museum quality mat size 20” x 16
Condition: Hand-coloring is still bright and fresh. Obvious edge where cut from the book, very little spotting, paper may have aged-colored
This beautiful, original hand colored copper plate engraving is from the book Papillons exotiques des trois parties du monde: L’Asie, l’Africa en America (also written in Dutch, and, translated, is Exotic Butterflies from Three Parts of the World: Asia, Africa and America). It was initially organized and written by Pieter Cramer, with volumes one and two being published in 1779 by S. J. Baalde of Amsterdam. Pieter Cramer (1721-1776??), was a Dutch merchant who made his fortune in Spanish textiles, allowing him to have time for his passion of collecting natural specimens. He was the director of a scientific society and a member of a literary and patriotic society, giving lectures on his scientific findings from his vast collection of natural specimens. In order to obtain a permanent record of his collection, he commissioned artist Gerrit Wartenaar Lambertz to paint his samples of butterflies from a number of countries with which the Dutch had trade relations. He also arranged for Lambertz to paint butterflies from other serious collectors in the Netherlands, the most prominent being Prince William V of Orange.
Either through the encouragement of one of the societies of which he was a member or because of his association with fellow entomologist Caspar Stoll, Cramer decided to publish the paintings of the butterflies. The work, when finished, consisted of 34 issues in four volumes with 400 hand-colored copper engravings depicting over 1650 butterfly specimens accompanied with double-column scientific descriptions of the butterflies written in both Dutch and French. It was the first publication to classify and name butterflies in accordance with the Linnaean system and provide color plates. The first volume lists the approximately 300 names of the subscribers of the quarterly issues, thus indicating that only about 300 copies of this publication ever existed.
Cramer died after the eighth installment, sometime around the publication of the first volume, which means that he was alive to oversee the inclusion and description of this hand colored engraved print that we offer for sale. He, most likely, wrote the text, describing these two species of butterflies, which appear on pp. 64-65 of volume 1.
After his death, Cramer, a bachelor, had willed his collections and drawings to his nephew Anthony van Rensselaer, with the stipulation that his drawings would be available to the publisher. The responsibility for finishing the project was left to van Rensselaer and Casper Stoll who authored the rest of the work. Cramer’s collections were broken up and sold or donated to institutions and individuals. Cornell University owns a copy of the four-volume work with its supplement composed by Stoll and allowed it to be scanned by Biodiversity Heritage Library so that it is available online for anyone to view.
This crisp, hand colored engraving that will display beautifully – a classic interior decorator piece still in style after almost 250 years – or a loverly addition to your print or art collection. Please contact us if you have any questions.
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1770s Hand Colored Engraving Butterfly Plate 40 from Cramer’s Papillons Exotiques Volume One