Great collection of drawings by Felix Platter (1536-1614) – via my colleague Florike Egmond, author of the article ‘A collection within a collection: Rediscovered animal drawings from the collections of Conrad Gessner and Felix Platter’, Journal of the History of Collections (first published online April 19, 2012)
From the University of Amsterdam Library web:
The so-called Gessner Albums, kept at the Special Collections Department of the University of Amsterdam, are part of the library of the Amsterdam Remonstrant Church. Several of the 369 watercolours in these two albums were used as examples for the prints in Historiae animalium (1551–1558), the famous book by the Swiss physician and naturalist Conrad Gessner. The watercolours draw attention for their realism and beauty. They were collected and mounted in two albums by the anatomist and biologist Felix Platter (1536–1614), a student and friend of Gessner. One of the albums is filled with fish, shellfish, crabs and other creatures of the sea. The other contains drawings of mammals – varying from dogs, sheep and deer to panthers, tigers and camels – and insects, reptiles and amphibians. The drawings were made by several artists, mostly anonymous.
Conrad Gessner (1516–1565) is considered one of the founders of zoology. With his Historiae animalium in four parts he tried to unite all the available knowledge on animals. The illustrations formed an essential part of his books; 812 of the more than 3000 pages were filled with woodcuts of all kinds of animals, for instance the woodcut of a rhinoceros by Albrecht Dürer. This popular book was reprinted several times.