Seba was a German-born apothecary practicing in Amsterdam. His scientific interests and curiosity motivated him to amass a collection of exotic oddities garnered from his travels to the East and West Indies and from the purchases he made of specimens collected by travellers and world over. Many of the snake, plants, fish and shells illustrated and described in his 'Thesaurus' were based on the specimens Seba collected in his 'cabinet of curiosities'. In fact, many of the extravagant designs of the engravings were copies of the arrangements of the specimens in the drawers of his cabinets and were echoed in the arrangements on the walls of the museum's interior. The collection was a valuable source to European natural historians, many of whom would not have had the opportunity to travel to the far flung destinations where the specimens were collected. It is documented that Carolus Linneas visited the collection when he was in Amsterdam. In 1717, Seba sold his collection to Peter the Great of Russia for an amount which contemporaries described as 'vast'. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: Locupletissimi Rerum Naturalium Thesauri - ...
Publication Date: 1743
Binding: No Binding
Book Condition: Very Good
Book Description Amsterdam: J. Wetstenium & Gul Smith & Janssonio-Waesbergios, 1735. Full-page copper engraving. Overall paper size 33 x 50 cm, image 28 x 43cm. Very good condition. Figures: 1: Southern smooth snake; 2-3: Grass snakes; 4: Wall lizard; 5: Sand lizard; 6: Treefoil shrub. Seba, the son of a Frisian peasant, was an apothecary who became rich in the service of the Dutch East India Company. Described as a 'prototypical collector' of natural curiosities and exotic species, his collections ranged from the beautiful to the obscure, including birds, reptiles, lizards and snakes, butterflies and other insects, shells and exotic sea life, unusual mammals such as bats and anteaters, as well as exotic plants. His collection also included some fantasy animals, intended to attract attention and interest, such as a seven-headed hydra. Seller Inventory # 51672