Six years after the release of a monumental compendium of Dutch birds, the publisher and naturalist Jan Christiaan Sepp (1739-1811) shifted his focus from avians to geology. In 1776, he issued Marmor Soorten, or The Book of Marble, a striking catalog of scientific illustrations and annotations featuring 570 types of the prized stone. This first tome was based on research published by the German engraver Adam Ludwig Wirsing and released in 11 volumes that presented the stunning, crystallized samples in exquisite hues, requiring 100 color plates to print.
A forthcoming release from Taschen reproduces Sepp’s monumental work in its entirety. Based on two first editions of Marmor Soorten held in collections at Dredsen’s State and University Library and the Getty Research Institute, the facsimile offers insight into the vast diversity of the material itself and the Enlightenment-era impulses to share knowledge and information with the public.
The Book of Marble will be available in the U.S. in May, and you can pre-order a copy from Taschen.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. You’ll connect with a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, read articles and newsletters ad-free, sustain our interview series, get discounts and early access to our limited-edition print releases, and much more. Join now!