Johann Christoph Volkamer

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Bergamot-Fruit. Illustration from Nürnbergische Hesperides

Johann Christoph Volkamer (June 7, 1644 – August 26, 1720) was a German merchant, manufacturer and botanist.


Johann Christoph Volkamer (also: Volcamer, Volckamer, Volkammer, Volcameris) was the son of the physician Johann George Volkamer. He occupied himself with botany as a hobby, and maintained a garden in the today's Nurembergian Gostenhof district. He published a two volume work about citrus in 1708–1714, titled "Nurenberg Hesperides, or thorough description of the noble Citron, Lemon, and Bitter Orange fruits, How to, in this and neighboring areas, correctly plant, tend, maintain and reproduce them, Together with a comprehensive enumeration of most cultivars, partly actually grown at Nuremberg, partly imported to there from various foreign places ..."

In Volkamers time people thought the "golden apples of the Hesperides" of Greek mythology referred to citrus fruit. Starting from late 17th Century, there developed a collecting passion for instance among the aristocracy, who tried to outdo one another with the rarest and most bizarre citrus fruits, imported at great expense from south of the Alps and developing into a symbol of social status and power.

With this work the term "Hesperides" became the symbol for the flowering Nurembergian garden culture, which lasted from 1650 onwards up to the late 18th Century.

In Volkamers book he illustrated also the Nurembergian landscapes, city panoramas, and above all the gardens of the city, illustrated beside the citrus plants and their fruits by engraving.

He is said to be influenced by the work of Giovanni Baptista Ferrari.


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  • Wilhelm Schwemmer: Johann Christoph Volkamer, in: Nürnberger Gestalten aus neun Jahrhunderten, Nuremberg 1950, 135–139.
  • Helge Weingärtner: Nürnbergische Veduten in J.C. Volkamers Hesperidenwerk, Magisterarbeit Universität Erlangen 1990.
  • Christian Jörg Zink: Ein Meisterstück der Gartenkunst. Der Garten der Familie Volkamer, in: Katrin Bielefeldt, u.a.: Gostenhof, Muggenhof, Eberhardshof und Kleinweidenmühle. Geschichte eines Stadtteils (Nürnberger Stadtteilbücher 9, hg. von Geschichte Für Alle e.V.), Nuremberg 2005, 44–49.
  • Michael Diefenbacher, Rudolf Endres (Hrsg.): Stadtlexikon Nürnberg. 2. verb. Auflage. Nürnberg: Verlag W. Tümmels, 2000, 1247 S., ISBN 3-921590-69-8.

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