"Fifty-seven newly-named fungi, five new combinations and fifty-two totally new taxa are only part of the significance of Johan Theodor Holmskjold's 'Beata Ruris Otia Fungis Danicis Impensa', or Happy Resting Periods in the Country Studying Danish Fungi.
The stunningly rendered, impeccably accurate, and beautiful illustrations of each of the seventy four specimens in the two-volume work led Swedish botanist Anton Jahan Retzius (1742-1821) to call it "the most brilliant work which had appeared up to that time". [...]
Beata was almost as unlikely as it is impressive. After graduating from the University of Copenhagen in 1760 with a medical degree, and touring Europe and studying with botanist Christen Friis Rottboll (1727-1797), Theodor Holm spent only three years as a professor of natural history at the Academy of Sorø. In 1765, at age 34, he left the academy with a pension, and spent the next two years resting in the countryside near the Danish seaport of Aarhus, indulging his interest in botany by observing and writing about the fungi he found there. He also commissioned artist Johan Neander to make detailed, life-size drawings of the specimens Holm collected and described.
It seems this brief period formed the basis of his research for Beata, because in 1767 he was appointed one of the general directors of the Danish postal service, and he spent the rest of his life serving his queen and king in several capacities."
The quotation and all of the images above - presumably transparencies rather than page scans - come from a subsite within the Harvard University Herbaria: The Life and Works of Theodor Holmskjold. Regrettably, there are no more of these vibrant illustrations available.
The images below are the two best on offer from a larger 'Fungis Danicis' selection - of variable physical and digital quality - at the Faculty of Life Sciences Library at Copenhagen University.
The Danish Society for Nature Conservation devotes a number of web pages, albeit in Danish, to Johan Theodor Holmskjold.
[via] | previously: Les Champignons