Anthemis Kniphof, Johann Hieronymous  (German, 1704-1763)

A loose plate from Johann Hieronymous Kniphof’s Botanica in originali seu herbarium vivum.

One of the earliest and most beautiful botanical works with nature-printed illustrations, and one of the first botanical plate books to use Linnaean binomials. Kniphof was appointed professor of medicine at the University of Erfurt in 1737 and in 1745 professor of anatomy, surgery and botany. His innovation in the development of nature-printing, developed in conjunction with his first printer Johann Michael Funcke, was to use printer’s ink instead of lampblack, and to use a flat printing press. He was also apparently the first to introduce ‘a new feature… that of coloring the impressions by hand according to Nature’ (Henry Bradbury. On Nature Printing [1855], p.3). In fact, however, most of the colouring of Kniphof’s illustrations was produced by variously coloured printing inks, hand-colouring being usually reserved for the flowering portions of the plants. (Christies)