Title translation: A representation of Inland and Foreign Wood: As well Trees as [sic] Shrubs Which are Collected by the Lovers of Natural History in Their Cabinets of Natural Curiosities for Use and Pleasure. According to Their Inward Properties and Natural  Colors  …

In a page headlined Advertisement, Sepp says this book is for “Kings, Princes and Lovers of Nature”. Exotic and unusual wood samples were often artifacts that were part of a collection of curiosities, as well as being the woods used in crafting a cabinet of curiosities.

Icones lignorum exoticorum.  Plates 9, 16, 7

Cabinetmakers and their patrons would have found this book invaluable for selecting and identifying different woods for using contrasting colors and wood grain patterns in designs using veneers, for marquetry.  Sepp states that  “when they are sawed in thin, flat pieces, and that no care or pain is spared in working and polishing them with all the art, they appear as beautiful as the finest marble tables. “

Marquetry cabinet, 1675-1700, English






Cabinet On Stand, 1675–1700. Bequest of Mrs. John Innes Kane, 1926-22-43.

The text is in Latin and Dutch, with some plate indices in Dutch, German, English, French and Latin.  Sepp’s beautifully illustrated Icones lignorum exoticorum … is a survey of indigenous woods from around the world. Examples of exotic trees like Jaboubalie-wood, Liquorice-wood, or the roots of many plants that can be used for veneers are shown, like Mandrake and root of Iris of Florence. The book features 556 hand–painted wood specimens on 66 engraved plates identifying the types of wood. This work is an important source of information about the knowledge and use of wood in the 18th century.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *