(Amsterdam: Jan Christian Sepp, 1770). 188 x 145 mm. (7 1/2 x 5 3/4"). [iv], 56, ; viii, 32 pp.
Contemporary half calf over speckled tan paper boards, raised bands, compartments with gilt lettering and flower motifs. With frontispiece printed in blue, 33 leaves of paper specimens, and four hand-colored plates. Front free endpaper with a pencilled ownership inscription. Hunter, "Papermaking Through Eighteen Centuries," pp. 53-68. Significant general wear to the insubstantial original binding, but the book quite firm and still appealing because unrestored. Lower hinge separating, the occasional negligible chip or tear to the specimens (one of the hemp specimens with more noticeable open tears), faint offsetting to the front endpapers (from a laid-in piece of paper), but overall A SURPRISINGLY NICE COPY of a book one would expect to find in terrible shape, the contents very clean and the specimens remarkably well preserved, given the materials involved.
This is an extremely rare and highly inventive treatise on papermaking, with original paper samples illustrating the appearance of an array of experimental materials used in the process. Each specimen leaf has a distinct natural color and texture (bleach was not discovered until after the date of publication), and each contains a brief printed description of the material used in its creation. The goal, according to the author, was not to create a high quality product, but rather to showcase and experiment with the bounty of different materials provided by nature. Among the more interesting ingredients used here are wasps' nests, sawdust, moss, cattail, and hemp; several species of trees are also experimented with, including beechwood and the wool of the poplar. Jacob Christian Schäffer (1718-90) had first suggested the possibility of using wood products in papermaking in an ambitious six-volume work published in Regensburg in 1765-71. Dard Hunter, writing about papermaking in 1925, called the present book "the rarest work on the specific subject of paper that has ever been published" and praised the author as an innovator "who did more than any of his predecessors in the quest for papermaking." In discussing this item (of which he had apparently seen only the second part), Hunter notes that it is "almost rarer than the Regensburg edition." We could find only four copies of this work in the auction records, three of which were lacking plates and/or specimens. (ST13825)
Add to Cart Price: $8,500.00
PJP Catalog: ELIST 10.020