Levinus Vincent

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Wondertooneel der natuur Tome 1 Frontispiece

Levinus Vincent (1658 in Amsterdam – 8 November 1727 in Haarlem) was a rich Dutch designer and merchant of luxurious textiles, such as damask, silk and brocade. He was of the Anabaptist faith. He collected naturalia (shells, insects, corals, birds, lizard and small mammals as wet preparations) and artificialia - (ethnography, paintings and drawings of flowers). Vincent and his wife, Joanna van Breda, took a lot of effort to present their collectables in a pleasurable and instructive spectacle. They ordered their shells and insects in elegant designs that resembled magnificent pieces of embroidery.

Levinus Vincent aimed at the non-Latin-speaking public, printing the catalogue of his collection in both Dutch and French - Wondertooneel der Nature (Wonder Theater of Nature), giving details of all the objects on display. This catalogue sold for three guilder plus a tip or entrance fee of two guilder. He had fixed hours for its visitors. His visitor book (from 1705 to 1737) includes at least 3,500 entries, including Peter the Great.

Levinus Vincent first lived in Amsterdam, and in 1705 he moved to Haarlem. After the death of his second wife in 1715, he remarried a woman who did not like his collection or hobby. Vincent moved to the Hague, hoping to find a buyer among its many diplomats for his cabinet. He corresponded with such friends as James Petiver and Hans Sloane in England.


  • Driessen, J. (1996) Tsaar Peter de Grote en zijn Amsterdamse vrienden. In samenwerking met het Amsterdams Historisch Museum.
  • Bert van de Roemer, Redressing the Balance: Levinus Vincent’s Wonder Theatre of Nature, Public Domain Review, (http://publicdomainreview.org/2014/08/20/redressing-the-balance-levinus-vincents-wonder-theatre-of-nature/)
  • Freedberg, D & J. de Vries (eds) (1991) Science, Commerce and Art. In: Art in History, History in Art, p. 379, 386.
  • Vincent, L. (1715) Wondertooneel der Natuur, ofte een Korte Beschrijvinge zo van Bloedelooze, Zwemmende, Vliegende, Kruipende, en Viervoetige Geklaauwde Eijerleggende Dieren ... bevat in de Kabinetten van Levinus Vincent, adorned with a handsome title-page designed by Romein de Hooghe.

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