|Artist||Matthäus Merian II|
|Published||Franz Eckebrecht, Heilbronn, 1756.|
|Dimensions||Plate 288 x 175 mm, Sheet 370 x 220 mm|
A plate depicting ruff and oystercatchers from the 1756 edition of John Johnston's Theatrum universale de avibus. Libri VI. Originally published in 1657, Jonston's six volumes of work which became a standard 17th century encyclopaedia of natural history. Remarkable more for its breadth and arrangement than any particular advancement of the study and classification of animals, it was an extremely popular work, in great part because of numerous engravings by Matthäus Merian the Younger and his younger brother Caspar Merian. It was translated and reprinted in many editions into the later half of the 18th century.
John Jonston (15 September 1603 – 1675) was a Polish scholar, naturalist, and physician of Scottish parentage. He studied at St. Andrews, Cambridge, and Leiden. He practised medicine for some years and earned a great reputation. He was offered several university chairs but turned them down preferring to study independently. Jonston wrote extensively on a number of subjects and his work is seen by many as compilations of learning.
Matthäus Merian II (1621-1687) was a portrait painter, engraver and publisher. Born in Basel he was the she son of Matthäus Merian and half brother of Maria Sibylla Merian. In 1650, after his father's death he took over the business.