Spectacular specimens: Albertus Seba’s unrivaled catalog of animals insects and plants The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities is one of the 18th centurys greatest natural history achievements and remains one of the most prized natural history books of all time. Though scientists of his era often collected natural specimens for research purposes Amsterdam-based pharmacist Albertus Seba (16651736) was unrivaled in his passion. His amazing collection of animals plants and insects from all around the world gained international fame during his lifetime. In 1731 after decades of collecting Seba commissioned careful and often scenic illustrations of every specimen. With these meticulous drawings he arranged for the publication of a four-volume catalog covering the entire collection from strange and exotic plants to snakes frogs crocodiles shellfish corals birds and butterflies as well as now extinct creatures. This reproduction is taken from a rare hand-colored original. The introduction supplies background information about the fascinating tradition of natural collections to which Sebas curiosities belonged. Irmgard Msch born in 1967 studied art history history and classical archaeology in Mainz and Berlin. Her Ph.D. thesis from 1999 examines Johann Jakob Scheuchzers Kupfer-Bibel a richly illustrated scientific commentary on the Bible from the early 18th century. She has published on art of the 18th and 20th century scientific illustrations and Kunstkammer pieces. Jes Rust born 1963 completed his studies in geology palaeontology and zoology at Gttingen and Kiel. His thesis dealt with the evolution of fossil snails living in the fresh and brackish waters of prehistoric Greece. His assistantship at the Institute of Zoology in Gttingen between 1993 and 1999 was followed by his appointment in 2001 as professor of invertebrate palaeontology and insect phylogeny at the University of Bonn. Rainer Willmann holds a chair in zoology at Gttingen University is director of its Zoological Museum and is co-founder of its Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research. A specialist in phlogenetics and evolution he conducts research into biodiversity and its history. Text in English French and German.