• Carl Gustav Jablonsky

    1756-1787

    was a German naturalist, entomologist and illustrator. private secretary to the Queen of Prussia. Jablonsky edited the first two volumes of his major work on butterflies; Natursystem aller bekannten in- und ausländischen Insecten: Schmetterlinge :“ Natural History Survey of Insects, Including Related Foreign Ones: Butterflies” the remaining nine volumes were edited by Johann F.W. Herbst (1743-1807) a German naturalist and entomologist, after Jablonsky's untimely death at the age of 31. Published in Berlin from 1785-1806. The Natural History System contained 328 plates in 10 volumes. The plates were engraved by Ludwig Schmidt. 

    Jablonsky had also began the first complete survey of coleoptera, an order of insects including beetles, borers, weevils and fireflies, a project also taken over by Herbst and published between 1785 and 1806. A great number of the plates were drawn by Jablonsky himself. The work should be considered a first attempt to a total survey of the coleoptera.

    Jablonsky’s "Natural History Survey" is among the most famous and charming scientific works of the 18th Century, and even one of the most attractive early works on coleoptera. These plates showing exotic and european insects were produced in the Age of Enlightenment, when various animal species were first classified in accordance with the system developed by Linnée and all forms of natural specimens were illustrated in hand-colored print sets for biologists, as well as for aristocrats interested in learning about the latest discoveries of flora and fauna. These plates combine scientific accuracy and a sophisticated aesthetic sense, with artistic arrangements of the animals highlighting their natural shapes, colors and decorative patterns.

    Reference: "Recent Acquisitions in NCSU Librairies' Special Collections." NCSU Librairies Special Collections. 13 February 2004. http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/archives/exhibits/newbooks99 (22 March 2004).