New Book | Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium
Maria Sibylla Merian, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium Verandering der Surinaamsche insecten / Transformation of the Surinamese Insects, edited by Marieke van Delft (Tielt: Lannoo Publishers, 2017), 200 pages, ISBN: 978 94014 33785, $145 / €99.
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) was a German naturalist and scientific illustrator. She is considered to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly. In 1705, Merian published Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, for which she became famous. No more than 30 copies of this masterwork are left worldwide. In 2017, it will be 300 years since Maria Sibylla Merian’s death. To mark the occasion, a facsimile of Merian’s highly successful book will be released. Modern readers will at last be able to see with their own eyes how detailed and colourful Merian’s magnificent work was. The book includes a comprehensive introduction and background information by renowned historians and biologists.
Included is a foreword by Merian specialist Redmond O’Hanlon and a biographical introduction by art historian Ella Reitsman. Kay Etheridge, professor biology at Gettysburg College, discusses the meaning of Merian’s work for biology, and Bert van de Roemer talks about the historical context.
Marieke van Delft is Curator of Early Printed Collections at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands, in The Hague. She studied history and book history at the universities of Amsterdam and Leiden and gained her doctorate in cultural studies at the KU Leuven. Van Delft has published on many aspects of the history of the printed book in the Netherlands. In collaboration with Uitgeverij Lannoo she has created real-size facsimile editions of major books from the collections of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek: Atlas De Wit (2012), Nozeman & Sepp, Nederlandsche vogelen (2014), and Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (2016).