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Zum 5. November 1868 [Festschrift Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg]
Unpublished manuscript, The Ehrenberg Family, 1868. Oblong folio (36.0 x 27.0 cm). Full embossed morocco. Boards with gilt borders; front board with gilt title. Iridescent endpapers; top edge gilt; brass clasps.l A unique, personal Liber Amicorum for Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg (1795-1876), arranged chronologically. The album was carefully crafted as a present at Ehrenberg's 50th anniversary as a doctor of science. Its artists are Ehrenberg's daughters Helene (1834-1890), Laura (1836-****), and Clara (1838-after 1905?), and his son Hermann Alexander (1840-****). Clara, the youngest daughter, contributed most; she is also the author of a work titled "Unser Elternhaus: Ein Familienbuch für meine Geschwister und deren Kinder und Enkel" (published in 1905). Clara must have been closest to her father; she also helped him with arranging and filing his huge collections of microscopic specimens (see Lazarus & Jahn, 1998, "Using the Ehrenberg collection"), and drew specimens of Foraminifera and other minute organisms. The work is divided into four parts: "Jugendzeit" (Youth); "Africa"; "Heimath"; and "Neuere reisen" (Later travels). "Jugendzeit" starts with a fine drawing of Ehrenberg's place of birth, Delitzsch in Saxony, a town virtually untouched during the Second World War. Today, most landmark buildings are exactly as drawn by Helene, some 150 years ago. This is followed by a suite of 13 photos (on three leaves) of Schulpforta, a boarding school of Hogwartsian proportions. Being a former Cistercian monastery, Pforta Abbey (built between 1137-1540) is a famous German boarding school for academically gifted children, now called Landesschule Pforta. Notable alumni include the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius, the historian Leopold von Ranke, the poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock and, between 1809-1815, Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg. A photo of Leipzig University (destroyed in WWII), from which Ehrenberg graduated in 1818, follows. His thesis dealt with fungi. The next chapter deals with Africa, in particular Egypt and the Red Sea region, including the Sinai dessert, which is represented by a fine drawing by Ehrenbergs daughter Clara, who contributed additional watercolour and pencil views of Tor and Massawa (Eritrea); as well as a 1860's photo of Cairo. Together with Wilhelm Friedrich Hemprich (1796-1825), Ehrenberg travelled through the region twice, collecting natural history specimens. Unfortunately, Hemprich died of fever in Massawa. Returning to Germany, Ehrenberg was elected a member of the Berlin Academy of Sciences and become an assistant professor at the University of Berlin (now Humboldt University - represented by two photographs). He published much of the results of his travels, describing hundreds of new species of animals and plants, mostly in the series "Symbolae physicae", in which Hemprich remained listed as second author. His travels through Russia, together with Alexander von Humboldt, are not recorded; the next illustrations (fine pencil drawings by Clara), are of Wismar (1831), Schoenebeck (1850), and the Biliner Felsen (a mountain near Bílina, Czechia, also visited by Goethe). Another large photo shows Dresden, visited by Ehrenberg in 1844, Boltenhagen (1845; drawn by Clara) and Cambridge (1847; drawn by Clara). Ehrenberg visited Cambridge and Oxford; in Oxford he met Charles Darwin - they remained friends. The following sketch by Clara shows the view from Ehrenberg's house in Berlin, followed by photos from Venice (1853), Hamburg (1854) and a fine drawing by Helene of "Das Grosse Schloss" in Blankenburg im Harz (1856). Hermann contributed one fine, detailed ink drawing of the rear and garden of the "Haus der naturforschenden Freunden zu Berlin". Ehrenberg was a member of the Gesellschaft von naturforschenden Freunden (founded 1773). The building was later altered and then sold (1906); it no longer exists. This is followed by a large photo of the Institut de France, in Paris, a view from the Seine river that has not changed much in 150 years time. In 1832, Ehrenberg received the institute's "Prix pour Physiologie expérimentale". The "Neuere Reisen" starts with three views of Mount Vesuvius, Capri and Ischia (1858, all by Clara), an old, large photo of Rome's Circus maximus, a bird's eye view of Heligoland (1861), and a large watercolour view of the Jungfrau mountain in the Alps (1860). Next is a very accurate and delicate rendering of the Arctic-alpine plant Dryas octopetula, by Laura, who had married a botanist. This is followed by an oil painting on cardboard by Clara, "Schledorf am Kochelsee. 1862"; an unsigned watercolour (probably also by Clara) of "Unsere Wohnung im Park zu Aigen bei Salzburg. 1862"; another very fine plant drawing by Laura "Cyclamen europaeum", dated 1862, and more views of Central European places, including a watercolour of Nice, in southern France. This is followed by another suite of fine watercolours by Clara, and two more oil paintings in her hand, including a view on the Berner Alps, dated 1867. The final illustration is a mounted photo of the Löwenbrücke im Thiergarten bei Berlin (lion's bridge in the Berlin Zoo), which was built in 1834 and still exists. Loosely inserted are a) a drawing, presumably by Clara, of a wooden house, and b) a photo (ca. 1860-1870) of a street in Berlin, with a view towards the Marienkirche in Berlin Mitte. The use of photographs is peculiar; photographs made in or perhaps a few years previous to 1868 have been included to illustrate localities where Ehrenberg stayed long before photography had even been invented. Several, however, may have been made for this special occasion. Several pages were deliberately left blank, apparently to leave room for additional souvenirs, such as the early Berlin photo and the drawing of a wooden house. Both the map and contents in excellent condition. Truly a "museum piece".
      [Bookseller: Antiquariaat Schierenberg]
Last Found On: 2017-06-14           Check availability:      Biblio    


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