By Emily Mattern
Emily Mattern completed an MPhil in the History of Art at Trinity College Dublin in 2022. The following text is based on the research for her dissertation entitled Materiality, Meaning, and Metamorphosis: The Work of Maria Sibylla Merian in the Fagel Collection at Trinity College Dublin (2022).
First Encounter with the Fagel Metamorphosis
Although the works of natural history found within the Fagel Collection are limited in number, they are some of the collection’s most visually striking objects. As a multi-generational library amassed by high-ranking Dutch citizens, the Fagel Collection demonstrates an interest in various subjects. Even so, the men who amassed and maintained it routinely favored items which would prove beneficial in upholding their official duties as greffier of the States General. Because the Fagels prioritized practical texts, it is no surprise that natural history volumes comprise only about 2.6% of the collection (Fox 89). More remarkable is the exquisite ornamentation of these books, as exemplified by one second-edition copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (Fag.GG.2.10 no.1).Continue reading “On Display. The Fagel Family’s Copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s ‘Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium’ (1719)”