1. Johann Joachim Schwabe, Allgemeine Historie der Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande, vol. 5, Leipzig: Arkstee und Merkus, 1749
One volume of a 21-volume series published between 1748 and 1773 containing various travel accounts collected and edited by a German writer, librarian, and translator, Johann Joachim Schwabe (1714–1784). In volume 5, presented here, Schwbe has included the relations of travels to Africa and China. In the plate we see illustrations of amazing sea creatures, including sirens, seahorses, flying fish, sea lions and rays.
2. François Levaillant, Neue Reise in das Innere von Afrika: während der Jahre 1783 bis 1785, vol. 1, Berlin: Vossische Buchhandlung, 1796
An account of the French ornithologist François Levaillant’s (1753–1824) trip to South Africa in 1783–1785, during which he described many unknown species of African animals, especially birds. He was a collector and developed new methods of preserving animal specimens. He was the first to bring a giraffe skeleton to Europe, which brought him great fame.
3. Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon, Naturgeschichte der vierfüssigen Thiere, t. 18, Berlin : Joachim Pauli, 1792
Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon (1707–1788) is considered one of the greatest naturalists of the Enlightenment. His major work was the 36-volume Histoire naturelle (additional volumes were published after his death based on notes he left behind). The book is open on the illustration showing a guenon.
4. Michael Bernhard Valentini, Museum Museorum, oder Vollständige Schau-Bühne Aller Materialien und Specereÿen […], Frankfurt am Mein: Johann David Zunner, 1704
Michael Bernhard Valentini (1657–1729) published many scientific dissertations, but his most enduring work was Museum museorum, in which he described his rich collection of natural specimens and scientific instruments. It is considered one of the earliest books on museology and contributed significantly to the popularity of cabinets of curiosities in Europe.