Theatrum fungorum oft het Tooneel der Campernoelien (1675)

1st copperplate engraving of fungi
No. 30 Phallus [copperplate engraving]

Sterbeeck, Franciscus van, 1631-1693.
Theatrum fungorum oft het Tooneel der Campernoelien.

[T'Antwerpen, By I. Iacobs, 1675.]

Image Courtesy of the Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany


Franciscus van Sterbeeck (1631-1693), a Flemish priest of noble extraction, was born and died in Antwerp where he lived for the greater part of his life. During the eight years following his ordination in 1655, he suffered chronic illness and turned his attention to botany. He had a particular interest in fungi and soon became a recognized expert on the subject. In 1672 Adriaan David, an amateur botanist himself, showed van Sterbeeck a copy of Clusius' Code de l'Escluse. This book truly interested him and he used the drawings within it as the basis for his work Theatre fungorum.

Theatre fungorum was published in 1675. Of the 135 illustrations of hymenomycetes included in its pages it is estimated that 77 were taken from Clusius and another 14 from other contemporary botanists. While the plates may be in a large part copies of others work much of the text includes new information.