Auctions | January 19, 2018

Waverly Rare Books at Quinn's Auction Galleries to Auction Rare Botanical & Zoological Prints

225.pngFalls Church, VA - On Thursday, January 25, the Waverly Rare Books & Prints division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries will present the first on two sales devoted to prints reflecting the natural world in its many forms, with Part II to follow in May. The January sale selection consists of the best of several small private collections, including that of Virginian Jim Willis. The Willis collection contains highly significant antique prints of a remarkable and sweeping range. Many are beautifully framed.   

Animals, birds, botanicals, fish, amphibians and reptiles of all kinds are richly represented in the 375-lot sale, with all forms of bidding available including live online through LiveAuctioneers. In total, there are more than 2,700 auction items grouped into logical affinity lots.

More than 60 plates from Alessandri and Scattaglia's Descrizioni degli Animali: Secondo Volume de Quadrupedi, Venice, 1772, are among the highlights, as are 144 plates from The Birds of America, Amsterdam Edition; Amsterdam and New York: Johnson Reprint Corporation and Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, 1971-1972. 

“The Amsterdam Edition is one of the most faithful and collectible facsimile editions of Audubon’s original Elephant Folio,” noted Catherine Payling, director of Waverly Rare Books.

There are also more than 250 plates from several of John Gould's majestic and wide-ranging ornithological titles, including Hummingbirds, The Birds of Great Britain, Europe, Australia, New Guinea and, above all, The Birds of Asia. Individually framed birds include the kakapo, triton cockatoo, black-mantled goshawk and black falcon.

Among the more than 35 plates by Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717) are examples of Banane from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium, Amsterdam, 1715; Red Ginger Plant and Cayman with Snake, same title, 1719; Water Scorpion, Frogs & Water Beetle, Lantern Moth & Pomegranate Flower, and Jasmine & Snake from Dissertatio de Generatione et Metamorphasibus Insectorum Surinamensium, The Hague: Gosse, 1726. 

Additionally, there are 16 botanical plates by Basilius Besler (1561-1629), including Dracontium Maius and Sedum Arborescens (1613, 1640), and more than 60 plates by Johann Wilhelm Weinmann from Phytanthoza iconographia, 1737, which contained some of the first produced plates to feature color printing (mezzotint). 

Sixteen citrus plates by Giovanni Battista Ferrari come from Hesperides, sive, De Malorum Aureorum cultura etusa Libri Quatuor, circa 1646; while 84 fish studies by Marcus Elieser Bloch are from Ichtyologie, ou Histoire Naturelle, Generale et Particuliere des Poissons [Ichthyology or natural history, general and particular fish]. Berlin: 1785-1797. Some of the plates are heightened in silver and gold. 

Other important prints in the sale include works by Mark Catesby, Albertus Seba, Moses Harris, George Edwards, Prideaux John Selby, Jacques Barraband, Redoute, Emanuel Sweerts, Elias Fries, Georg Knorr, Johann Christoph Volckamer, Elizabeth Blackwell, Abraham Munting and Jan and Caspar Commelin.  

The Jan. 25 auction will commence at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. For additional information on any item in the auction, call 703-532-5632, ext. 575; or email Quinn’s is located at 360 S. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046. Online: View the catalogue and bid absentee or live via the Internet at

Image: Lot 225: John Gould (British, 1804-1881), Henry C. Richter (British, 1821-1902), and William Hart (1830-1908), one of a group of 10 hand-colored lithographs from The Birds of Great Britain, London, 1862-73, 14.5 x 21.5in. Est. $800-$1,000