Virtual Children's Books Exhibits


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Bertuchs Bugs

Creepy Crawlies

6.   Friedrich Justin Bertuch.
Bilderbuch zum Nutzen und Vergnügen der Jugend, enthaltend eine angenehme Sammlung von Thieren, Pflanzen, Blumen, Früchten, Mineralien [Picture Book for the Use and Enjoyment of Children, Containing a Pleasant Collection of Animals, Plants, Flowers, Fruits, and Minerals].
Prague: Peter Bohmanns Erben, 1822-1827.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many European children would have learned about insects from the famous picture encyclopedia in German, French, English, and Italian compiled by the Weimar bookseller Bertuch (1747-1822). It was first published in twelve volumes between 1790 and 1830 and was supposed to give young readers realistic, accurate, and detailed pictures of the natural world. Bertuch intended the 2,000 engraved plates for coloring or cutting up into cards, as desired, by young readers. This plate depicts 1) alligator-headed lantern fly (fulgoria laternaria), 2) locust (gryllus migratorius), 3) praying mantis (mantis religiosa), 4) cicada (cicada plebeja), 5) Hercules beetle (scrabaeus Hercules), and 6) May beetle (scrabaeus melolontha). The Hercules and May beetles appear in other images found in this exhibition.