The Mineralogical Record
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Johann von Kurr
(1798-1870)

Johann Gottlob von Kurr was born in Sulzbach on the Murr, Württemberg, Germany in 1798. After earning his doctorate in Medicine and Surgery, he was first an Instructor in Natural History, then Professor of Botany at the Polytechnic Institute in Stuttgart, and later Professor of Mineralogy. His first mineralogical work was a textbook of economic mineralogy (Grundzüge der Ökonomisch-Technischen Mineralogy) in 1836. By 1858 he had been made Professor of Natural History, and had been appointed a Knight (Ritter) of the Order of the Royal Württembergian Crown. By 1869 he had been promoted to Oberstudienrath (Senior Assistant Master) of the school. His fame today rests with his book on the Mineral Kingdom, the text for which he prepared for the publisher, J. F. Schreiber in Esslingen. Schreiber also arranged for the preparation of 23 color plates depicting a total of 225 mineral specimens, plus various accompanying idealized crystal drawings. The names of the artist and engraver are not given, nor is the source of the specimens illustrated, many of which are extremely fine—which is unfortunate inasmuch as the fame of the work derives from its illustrations and not its rather undistinguished text. It was an early example of what we would today call a "coffee-table book."

Kurr's The Mineral Kingdom (1859), first issued in German as Das Mineralreich in Bildern (1858), initially appeared with hand-colored plates (except for the metallic inks, which were always printed). However, by the time of the second German edition in 1869, Schreiber had adopted the new and presumably less expensive technology of chromolithography, and was issuing all plates with printed colors. For the most part this resulted in a decrease in the artistic quality, as the nuances of color shading and brushwork gave way to the flattened and simplified colors of the press. The examples pictured here, from a copy in the Mineralogical Record Library, are all from the 1859 English edition, with hand-colored plates.

W.E.W.

Reference:
Schuh, C. (2005) Mineralogy and Crystallography: An Annotated Biobibliography of Books Published 1469 through 1919. Privately published, Tucson, 1203 pages.

Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.
Number of artworks found: 63 | Artworks being viewed: 17 to 24

The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Native Silver from the Anton Mine, Wolfach, Black Forest, Germany Native Silver from the Anton Mine, Wolfach, Black Forest, Germany
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic silver ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 2.1-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 14, Figure 5 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Acanthite from St. Wenzel near Wolfach, Black Forest, Germany Acanthite from St. Wenzel near Wolfach, Black Forest, Germany
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic silver ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 2-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 14, Figure 9 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Acanthite from St. Anton, Heubachtal near Wolfach, Black Forest, Germany Acanthite from St. Anton, Heubachtal near Wolfach, Black Forest, Germany
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic silver ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 2.1-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 14, Figure 10 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Pyrargyrite from Andreasberg, Harz Mountains, Germany Pyrargyrite from Andreasberg, Harz Mountains, Germany
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic silver ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 1.2-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 14, Figure 13 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Pyrargyrite from Freiberg, Saxony Pyrargyrite from Freiberg, Saxony
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic silver ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 1.8-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 14, Figure 14 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Native Copper from Lake Superior, Michigan Native Copper from Lake Superior, Michigan
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic copper ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 2.1-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 15, Figure 6 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Native Copper from Ekaterinberg, Russia Native Copper from Ekaterinberg, Russia
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic copper ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 2-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 15, Figure 7 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
The Mineralogical Record: Johann von Kurr - Covellite on Chalcopyrite from Herrensegen, Black Forest, Germany Covellite on Chalcopyrite from Herrensegen, Black Forest, Germany
Hand-colored copper-plate engraving, heightened with printed metallic gold ink (1858), by an unnamed artist and engraver, depicting (presumably actual-size) a 2.3-inch specimen from an unnamed collection. Published as Plate 15, Figure 11 of Kurr's Mineral Kingdom, Edinburgh edition of 1859.
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