Rome's Biblioteca Casanatense [updated link 2010] was founded in 1700 by Dominican priests in accordance with a bequest of 25,000 books that had belonged to Cardinal Casanate. The state confiscated the library in the late 1800s.
Among what appears to be a formidable online presence I found 6 volumes of butterfly illustrations on the first fishing expedition. Papillonium Rariorum Collectio by Giuseppe Ferrarini is from the 18th century but there doesn't seem to be any other information about the collection or its author online.
Volumes: I, II, III, IV, V, VI - thumbnail pages of about 275 images in total. Unfortunately (on the one hand) they load in a zooming flash interface so I could only grab screenshots. They may well be embellished beyond reality but they are nonetheless exquisite.
UPDATE: It appears that this collection has been taken offline (or I can't find it in Nov. 2010 -- here's the image collection link)
Monday, January 23, 2006
Posted by peacay at 2:06 am