One of the greatest printing enterprises of the 17th century

Merian, Matthaeus. Theatrum Europaeum. Beschreibung aller Geschichten so sich 1617[-1718] zugetragen haben. Beschrieben durch J. P. Abelin [et al.].

Frankfurt a. M., Daniel Fievet, Johann Görlin, et al., 1647-1738.

21 vols. Folio. With 20 engr. title pages, 592 (instead of 663) engr. views and maps (many folded or double-page-sized), and 686 (instead of 692) additional engravings. Attractive early 18th-c. calf bindings with richly gilt spines and spine labels in two different colours.

Excellent copy of the first and most comprehensive source for the age of Louis XIV and the Thirty Years' War. The complete set of all 21 volumes is considered very rare due to the long publication period of almost 100 years. "One of the greatest printing enterprises of the 17th century [...] The numerous maps, views, portraits, and illustrations of historical events and battles lend the work an enduring historico-cultural value" (cf. LGB). Individual volumes saw up to six printings. The present copy is composed of volumes of the first four impressions; most are in their first or second printing. The number and arrangement of the engravings varies from printing to printing; Wüthrich states a maximum inventory of 693 different plates with 722 illustrations. However, as even Wüthrich was not able to include all variant printings, our own collation (available in full detail upon request) is based on the list of plates bound with the set, which appears to provide a fairly accurate account of the omission or substitution of individual plates during printing. Matthaeus Merian the Elder himself engraved some 140 of the plates present here, "among them the finest and most valuable of his entire oeuvre" (Wüthrich).

Wüthrich III, 113-272 (supersedes the earlier descriptions in Lipperheide, Bingel, Fauser, and Diesch). LGB² VII, 399f.