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Daniel Good Rare Books and Engravings

1696 Abraham Munting - Folio botanical - Glycyrrhiza Americana

1696 Abraham Munting - Folio botanical - Glycyrrhiza Americana

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Glycyrrhiza lepidota (American licorice) is a species of Glycyrrhiza (a genus in the pea/bean family, Fabaceae) native to most of North America, from central Canada south through the United States to California, Texas and Virginia, but absent from the southeastern states. It is also sometimes known in the United States as "wild licorice", to distinguish it from the related European licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) which is occasionally cultivated.

This highly decorative, folio botanical engraving from Abraham Munting's "Naauwkeurige Beschryving der Aardgewassen."

Fine original hand colour.

Overall size: 28.5 x 42.7 cm

The work was published by Pieter vander Aa and Francois Halma Utrecht and Leiden in 1696. 

The work found popularity due to the new design of the images which featured the plants against charming landscape backgrounds.

"Each plate shows a different plant in flower, including many exotic species from America and other distant lands. The plant dominates the foreground, filling the entire page, often with a detail of the fruit or the flowers presented on a smaller scale… The name of each plant appears written on an elegantly fluttering ribbon or cartouche, or on a crumbling marble plaque. The originality of the work lies, however, in the small landscapes that have been inserted into the background of the plates. Here the artist gave full rein to his imagination, delineating scenes that in reality bore little relation to the actual habitat of the plants. Pastorals with animals and figures alternate capriously with vistas of walled cities and landscapes containing classical statues and ruins." (Lucia Tongiorgi-Tomaso An Oak Spring Flora p.174).

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