Antonio José Cavanilles y Palop (1745‒1804) was a Spanish botanist and naturalist, and an activist of the Enlightenment movement. He studied at the University of Valencia, where he became a professor in philosophy (1762) and gained his doctorate in theology (1766); he was ordained as a priest in Oviedo in 1772. In Paris, he discovered the Encyclopédie movement and was one of the first Spanish scientists to use the new taxonomic procedures. He became one of the most prominent people in the scientific field during the age of Enlightenment in Spain. Cavanilles is also the main national precursor in Spain to modern theories on the exploitation of natural resources and sustainable development. He traveled through part of the Iberian Peninsula classifying and cataloging the native flora. During those investigations, he discovered new species and produced a treatise in six volumes, Icones et descriptiones plantarum quae aut sponte in Hispania crescunt, aut in hortis hospitantur (Images and descriptions of the plants that grow spontaneously in Spain or are hosted in gardens), which appeared in 1791‒1804. He also researched the flora of South America and compiled a glossary of botanical terms in four languages (1795‒98). Icones et descriptiones plantarum gathers the descriptions of 712 species, some of which were previously unknown, in six volumes that include 600 illustrations in his own hand. The work also covers species native to the Americas and Australia. All six volumes are presented here.
Contributor: Gayguer, Lazaro | Sellier, Louis
Engraver: Gamborino, Miguel, 1760-1828
Place: Europe; Spain
Institution: Valencian Library Nicolau Primitiu
Physical description: 6 volumes : illustrations ; 37 centimeters