Poissons, écrevisses et crabes, de diverse couleurs et figures extraordinaires, que l'on trouve autour des Isles Moluques, et sur les côtes des Terres Australes.... Amsterdam: Reinier & Josué Ottens, 1754.
"This extraordinary work purports to show marine life from the seas around Indonesia at a time when the natural wildlife of that area was virtually unknown in Europe. Renard, both a publisher and a spy for the British Crown, produced the work in 1719 in an edition of 100 copies; this second edition, also of about 100 copies, was made up after his death based on 36 unsold sets of pages from the first edition and the original copper plates. The work consisted of two books, with 100 plates and 460 hand-coloured engravings. The first part is fairly realistic, the second far more fanciful, going so far as to feature a mermaid.
The illustrations were supposedly based on drawings by Samuel Fallours (active 1703–20) belonging to Baltazar Coyett, Governor of Ambon and Banda (1694–1706), and to Mr Van der Stael, Governor of the Molucca Islands. However, the illustrations in the book bear a much greater similarity to another collection of drawings, now held at the British Library, presented to Sir Hans Sloane by Renard, indicating that Sloane’s set is actually far more likely to have been the model used by Renard’s engraver. In addition to the extravagant colouring, something which Renard insisted in his preface was accurate, the text has little scientific value, tending to focus on the culinary delights these fish provided and the sauces best suited to enjoy with them" (https://www.rct.uk/collection/1057042/poissons-ecrevisses-et-crabes-que-lon-trouve-autour-des-isles-moluques-et-sur-les).
Digital facsimile from Biodiversity Heritage Library at this link.
Subjects: COUNTRIES, CONTINENTS AND REGIONS › Indonesia, NATURAL HISTORY › Illustration, ZOOLOGY › Ichthyology