Rare Fish Books

Antiquariaat RARE FISH BOOKS, located in the centre of Amsterdam, has dealt in fine illustrated books on fish from 1550-1850 since 1998. On our website we showcase part, but not all of our collection. Please contact RARE FISH BOOKS if there is any particular antiquarian fish book you are searching for.





SALVIANI, Ippolito (1514-1572) AQUATILIUM ANIMALIUM HISTORIAE, liber primus, cum eorundem formis, aere excuses. Very rare first issue of the first edition. Romae: (Salvianus), M.D.L.IIII (1554 -1558). With a dedication to Pope Paul IV, and not, as Salviani had originally intended, to Cardinal Marcello Cervini who contributed both financially and in the gathering of material. However on the title page the coat of arms of Cardinal Marcello Cervini, consisting of a unicorn underneath a cardinal’s hat with tassels and cords, has been depicted above the title. The work includes 81 full-page copper engravings of 98 fish and cephalopods. More information: Rare Fish Books.


Collaer_DSC_0002_15.43.36COLLAERT, Adriaen (c.1560 – 1618) PISCIUM VIVAE ICONES. Antwerpen, c. 1598. An attractive set of eleven hand-coloured copperplate engravings in passe-partouts in attractive wooden frames. First edition. Ten landscapes with depictions of fish and one decorative title page. One of the great commercial successes of this well-known Flemish engraver, who succeeded in reputation even his teacher Philip Galle. More information: Rare Fish Books. 



WILLUGHBY, Francis (1635-1672) De Historia Piscium libri quatuor.. Londini, C. Davis, 1743. Including an additional engraved title page dated 1685 and signed “Paul van Somer” showing a miraculous catch of fish, fishermen holding a dragnet, a herald announcing the arrival of fresh fish and Pallas Athene drawing a cod, A reissue of the 1686 edition, The Royal Society authorised this re-issue in 1740 (published in 1743). 187 full-page engraved plates with a title-page dated 1743 and the addition of a 12 pp. index by C. Mortimer. More information: Rare Fish Books.


Bloch1_DSCN4862BLOCH, Marcus Elieser (1723-1799) ICHTHYOLOGIE ou HISTOIRE NATURELLE. A very fine and complete copy of the rare first issue (1785-1788) of the first French folio edition, published almost contemporaneously with the first German edition. With six engraved title-vignettes and 216 hand-coloured copper engraved plates by Berger, Bodenehr, Darchow, Haas, Henning, Schmidt and other artists. More information: Rare Fish Books.


Books from RARE FISH BOOKS were shown in 2004 at the exhibition ‘Fish, Still lifes by Dutch and Flemish masters, 1500-1700’ in the Central Museum in Utrecht, the Amos Andersons Konstmuseum in Helsinki and in 2007 at the Linnaeus exhibition, Aap, Vis, Boek’ in the University Library in Amsterdam.



Richter, C.J.J., Expensive and exquisite fish books. In: L.M. Helmus, ed. Fish Still lifes by Dutch and Flemish masters 1550-1700. Centraal Museum Utrecht, pp. 156-176, 347-369, 2004

Richter, C.J.J., Hollandse vissenboeken. De onweerstaanbare kracht van de afbeelding. Historisch Tijdschrift Holland, vol.3, pp. 161-176, 2006

Richter, C.J.J., Linnaeus als ichtyoloog, historie en mythe. In: F.J.M. Verkruysse, ed. Aap, vis, boek. Linnaeus in de Artis bibliotheek, pp. 36-47, 2007

Hendrikx, S.M., Het eerste en misschien ook wel het kleinste en mooiste boek over waterdieren. In: Hans Mulder en Erik Zevenhuizen, eds. De natuur op papier, 175 jaar Artisbibliotheek, pp. 82-85, 2013

Hendrikx, S.M., Identification of herring species in Conrad Gessner’s ichthyological works, a case study on taxonomy, nomenclature, and animal depiction in the sixteenth century.In: Paul J. Smith and Karl A.E. Enenkel (Eds.), Zoology in Early Modern Culture. Intersections of Science, Theology, Philology and Political and Religious Education, Leiden: Brill, pp. 149-179, 2014.