The Old Print Shop

Johann W. Weinmann


Johann Wilhelm Weinmann was a German apothecary and botanist, best known for his botanical series "Phytanthoza Iconographia" published in four volumes between 1736-45. Not much is known about his youth, apart from being the son of a barber, but his adult life is well documented. Weinmann moved to Regensberg in 1710, where worked as an assistant to an apothecary. He opened his own apothecary shop in 1712 and was appointed the position of Hospital Apothecary in 1713. By 1732, Weinmann had procured enough wealth that he purchased a bankrupted apothecary shop and turned it into a highly profitable business.

Weinmann's appointment to the position of Hospital Apothecary did not come without contention. Harassment from other apothecaries in the town became so disruptive, the town council had to step in to mitigate the problems. Ultimately, Weinmann was able to continue his business ventures without further trouble. In fact, he was so well regarded in Regensberg, he rose through the political rankings to become city assessor in 1733.

As one might expect from an apothecary of the 18th century, Weinmann had a deep seeded interest in botany. This interest led to him taking on the ambitious project of creating "Phytanthoza Iconographia." Although not an artist himself, Weinmann worked as the editor and director, hiring the artists he needed to bring his project to fruition. Georg Dionysus Ehret (1708-1770), Bartholomaus Seuter (1678-1754), Johann Jakob Haid (1704-1767) and Johann Ridinger (1698-1767) were among those he commissioned. The series is historically important not only because of its diversity, depicting over 4,000 plant varieties on 1,025 plates, it was the first notable botanical book to utilize printed-color techniques.