Artefact of the month - April
Historia naturalis Ranarum nostratium / Die natürliche Historie der Frösche hiesigen Landes
by August Johann Roesel von Rosenhof, (1753-)1758
The illustrations in this volume by August Johann Roesel von Rosenhof are considered to be some of the best frog illustrations ever produced and they have been reproduced and reprinted many times since they were first published.
His work Historia Naturalis Ranarum Nostratium ranks as one of the classics in the study of amphibians. He documented the natural history of amphibians in great detail which is unusual in a time when most zoological texts were confined to just the descriptions of the animals. The frontispiece is magnificent and shows frogs and a variety of other amphibians in a pond surrounded by wild roses.
The illustrations depict all aspects of frog anatomy, as well as habitat and development. In addition to the anatomical plates, images of all the then-known species of frogs and toads in the Nuremberg region are included.
All 48 plates are duplicated, one is without colour and has figure labels while the other is coloured and is without figure labels. This arrangement satisfied Roesel in his capacity as both an artist and a naturalist and has resulted in a splendidly illustrated natural history study whose images of amphibians have, for many, never been surpassed in accuracy and vitality.