The Book of Marble: Book Catalogs 570 Types of Marble in Vivid Color

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Six years after the release of a monumental compendium of Dutch birds, the publisher and naturalist Jan Christiaan Sepp (1739-1811) shifted his focus from avians to geology.

In 1776, he issued Marmor Soorten, or The Book of Marble, a striking catalog of scientific illustrations and annotations featuring 570 types of the prized stone.

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This first tome was based on research published by the German engraver Adam Ludwig Wirsing and released in 11 volumes that presented the stunning, crystallized samples in exquisite hues, requiring 100 color plates to print.

The release from Taschen reproduces Sepp’s monumental work in its entirety. Based on two first editions of Marmor Soorten held in collections at Dredsen’s State and University Library and the Getty Research Institute, the facsimile offers insight into the vast diversity of the material itself and the Enlightenment-era impulses to share knowledge and information with the public.