Schuh’s Annotated Bio-Bibliography

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VINCENT, Levinus.

(1658 – 1727)

(Born: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1658; Died: Haarlem, The Netherlands, 8 November 1727) Dutch merchant & manufacturer.

He was married to Jannetje van Breda; her brother Anthonie van Breda had started a natural history collection, which was well known by 1674, and which Vincent subsequently inherited.

Biographical references: Aa, Biographisch Woordenboek, 1852-78. BAB: 703, 197. Engel, Dutch Zoological Cabinets, 1986: no. 1603. WBI.

Wondertooneel der Natur, 1715

1. Dutch, 1706-15 [Collection catalog].
Wondertooneel | Der | Natuur, | Ofte een Korte Beschrijvinge | Zo van | Bloedelooze, Zwemmende, Vliegende, | Kruipende, en Viervoetige Geklaauwde | Eijerleggende Dieren, | Als van | Hoornen, Schulpen, Koraalen, | Zee-Heesters, Metallijke en In | Steen Veranderde Dingen, | enz. | Van de welke een zeer groote Meenigte word | bevat in de Kabinetten van | Levinus Vincent. | [ornament] | Te Amsteldam, | Gedrukt voor den Autheur, en zijn te bekoomen bij Gerard Valk | op den Dam, en Joannes van Leeuwen | in de Gasthuis-Moolen-steeg, ci[Backwards C] i[Backwards C] cc xv.

2 vols. in one. [Vol 1: 1706] 4°: 30 p., frontispiece (engraved; by Romeyn de Hooghe). [Vol 2: 1715] 4°: π8 A2-A4 B-Z4 2A-2L4 2M3; ??l.; [22], 9-278 p., frontispiece (double-page, engraved), 7 plates. Title in red and black. Page size: 248 x 180 mm. uncut.

Contents: [Vol 1] Need.

[Vol 2] [2 pgs], Title page, verso "Op de Print van het Twede Deel van het | ..."; [1 pg], "In Instructissimam rarissimamque"-signed E. van Zurck.; [3 pgs], "In Iconem Titularem | ..."-signed Lamb. Bidloo.; [1 pg], "Op het | Wondertooneel | Der | Natuur, | Van Den Heere | Levinus Vincent"-signed J.V.; [1 pg], "Eenige Drukfouten aldus te verbeuteren." [=errata].; [8 pgs], "Op Het | Woner-Tooneel | Der | Natuur, | ..."-signed Sylvius, 1712 (in Roman numeral).; [6 pgs], "Voorreede | Aan Den | Leezer." [=forward, and includes a letter singed "Grand Duc de Toscan," dated 12 January 1699].; [Folding frontispiece].; [9]-267, Text.; 268-278, "Bladwijzer | Van De Ingekerfde" (plates bound after page 268).

Plates: Facing page 9, there is an engraved, folding, frontispiece showing the museum's interior. It is signed "Aivam Buijsen Sculp." It pictures the long hall flanked on the left side by preserved creatures in jars and on the right by plants, shells, fossils and minerals. Running down the center are a series of tables on which the curiosities could be shown to the public. The seven unsigned, folding, engraved plates are bound in after page 268. They are numbered Tab. I to VII. Each pictures one or more drawers from the large collection as follows: I. Insects and butterflies. II. Shells and lobsters. III. Coral. IV. Books, jars of preserved specimens and birds. V. Jars of preserved specimens, birds and archaelogical artifacts. VI. Archaelogical artifacts. VII. Seeds and husks.

Very scarce. A rare and finely illustrated catalog of the natural history collection formed by the Dutch merchant Levinus Vincent. The first part provides a general description of the cabinet, and the second gives detailed descriptions of all the specimens contained in it. It covered the three kingdoms of nature, including a considerable number of mineralogical specimens. Some were well crystallized examples, while others were considered very rare.

Vincent's collection was one of the foremost Wunderkammern in Holland, and when they individually toured the country, it was visited by Czar Peter the Great and Charles III, King of Spain. It had been started in 1674 by Vincent's brother-in-law Anthony Breda, and after his death, the collection was continued by Vincent and his wife. Originally, specimens were displayed in Amsterdam, but Vincent moved his family and the collection first to Haarlem in 1705 and then finally to The Hague in 1726. At each location, the collection was open for review to qualified members of the public. Appreciation for Vincent's cabinet is seen by the material it provided for the works of Valentini, Cramer, d'Argenville, and Knorr. In 1779 the collection, valued at more than 200,000 French livres, was dispersed at auction in the Hague.

The catalog presents two spectacular views of the museum's interior. The first, acting as frontispiece to the first volume, was drawn by the famous Dutch artist Romeyn de Hooghe and engraved by Jan van Vianen. It shows the interior when the collection was situated in Amsterdam. The second double-plate view is used as a frontispiece to the second volume and illustrates (perhaps in idealized form) the grander museum Vincent established in Haarlem. The remaining plates illustrate the magnificent amories that stored the collections, including some minerals. Both natural and ethnographic items are exhibited, many from the Dutch colonies of the East Indies and Surinam.

Bibliographical references: Berlinische Sammlungen: 6 (17??), 421. Cobres, Deliciæ Cobresianæ, 1782: 1, 117-8 ["Sehr selten, besonders der 2. Theil"]. Nissen (ZBI): no. 4254. NUC. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 118, 156, 197 & 226.

Elenchus Tabularum, 1719

2. Latin & French, 1719 [Collection catalog].
[Latin title page reads, in red:] Elenchus | [in black:] Tabularum, | [in red:] Pinacothecarum, | [in black:] At Que | [in red:] Nonnullorum Cimeliorum, | [in black:] In Gazophylacio | [in red:] Levini Vincent. | [in black, ornament] | [in red:] Harlemi Batavorum, | [in black:] Sumptibus Avctoris. | [rule] | [in red:] cI[Backwards C] I[Backwards C] cc xix.

[French title page reads:]

[In red:] Description Abregée | [in black:] Des | [in red:] Planches, | [in black:] Qui Representent | [in red:] Les Cabinets | [in black:] & quelques-unes des Curiosités, | Contenuës dans le | [in red:] Theatre Des Merveilles | [in black:] De La Nature | De | [in red:] Levin Vincent. | [in black, ornament] | [in red:] A Harlem, | [in black:] Aux Depens De L'Auteur. | [rule] | [in red:] MDCXIX.

4°: π3 *4 A-G4 H2; 37l.; [22], 1-52 p., 9 leaves of plates (8 folded). Page size: 247 x 196 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Latin title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs], French title page, verso blank.; [1 pg], Dedication.; [1 pg], Blank.; [5 pgs], "Praefatio."; [2 pgs], "Monsieur ..."; [1 pg], Blank.; [6 pgs], "... Explicatio Auctoris | Tabulae Aeneae, | Repraesentantis, | Gazophylacium."; | [2 pgs], "Ejusdem Auctoris | Epigramma | ..."-signed Romanus de Hooge, J.U.D.; 1-48, Text.; 49-52, "Libri Latini, &c."

Plates: Indentical to those used in the author's Wondertooneel (Amsterdam, 1706-15) [which see above].

Rare. Published four years after the completion of the Wondertoonel [which see previous item], this work has the flavor of a sale prospectus for collection. Vincent was coming to the end of his life, and perhaps to disperse information about his collections to a larger audience, he includes a general description of the cabinet, translated from the Dutch into French and Latin from the first part of the Wondertoonel (Amsterdam, 1706). Interspereced throughout are reissues of the nine finely engraved plates that accompanied the earlier work.

Vincent's effort did not bring fourth a buyer however, and after his death his widow kept managing the collection. In 1730 she showed the cabinet to Gersaint, who was pleasantly suprised by the range, quality, and perfection of the collection. Sometime thereafter, after difficult negoiations, it was sold to P. Bout. When Bout died in 1779, the collection was disperesed at auction.

Bibliographical references: Engel, Dutch Zoological Cabinets, 1986: no. 1603. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 538. Murray, Museums, 1904: 3, 253.