Wolfgang Knorr

Les Delices des Yeux et de l’ Esprit, ou Collection Générale des Differents Especes de Coquillages que la Mer Renferme


George Wolfgang Knorr’s elegant work on sea-shells was one of the most sumptuously illustrated German works of the 18th century. Les Delices des Yeux was organised in precis groupings per plate according to Linneas’s system of scientific classification. Drawn by Johann Keller, Professor of drawing at Erlangen and executed by a number of eminent engravers, the plates were then enhanced with delicate hand-colouring. The late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw a growing number of wealthy collectors acquiring specimens and illustrations of rare and exotic shells, a trend to which Knorr’s work made a significant contribution.

Knorr was not only a gifted painter and engraver, becoming apprenticed to Leonhard Blanc at the age of eighteen, but also a humanist and an enthusiastic palaeontologist.  Amongst his other works was the Collection of Natural Wonders and Antiquities of the Earth’s Crust (1755).  Knorr was a prominent collector and art dealer and as such became an intermediary between the collectors of cabinets of natural history and those who used these specimens for identification and scientific enquiry. Knorr gained an international reputation for producing works of fine quality and extreme accuracy, and this was one of his most admired productions.

Below are a few examples from this collection. Please click on an image to see it in high-resolution with details of the work itself. For the full list of original antique Knorr engravings available,  please do contact us.