• Marc Elieser Bloch

    1723-1799

    was a German medical doctor and naturalist.

    Bloch was born in Anspach and practised as a physician in Berlin. He devoted himself to natural history, and wrote several works of which this is his most famous. He is considered the most important ichthyologist of the 18th century and his collection of some 1500 fishes from all over the world was the largest collection of fishes of his time. This precious collection, collected over a period of 20 years, has survived almost in its entirety, at the 'Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt Universität" in Berlin. "In the tradition of the great cabinet naturalists, Bloch developed his collection of specimens from local excursions, contacts in the marketplace and harbor, and correspondence. As his interest ranged beyond central Europe, he joined an existing network of scientific-scholarly contacts to inspire him to describe and figure the fishes of the then known world. In some cases, he accepted sources in lieu of actual specimens, particularly from father Plumier and Prince Maurits" (History in Service of Systematics, 1981 p.8 i.e. E.B. Wells. Bloch's Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische: A study). Nissen 'Schöne Fischbücher' 23; Nissen ZBI, 415. 


    'Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische'.published from 1782-95 The first 3 volumes describe German fishes, the work here offered. Volumes 4 to 12 describe foreign fishes, 'Ausländische Fische'. The plates, by a variety of artists and engravers (see Nissen), are outstandingly coloured, and are heightened with gold, silver, and bronze to reproduce the metallic sheen of fish scales.