Atlas ichthyologique contains over 400 color plates illustrating far more than 400 fish species native to what was then called the Dutch East Indies. The vibrant illustrations represent specimens that were at that time never before seen in Western Europe and thus were exotic and hard to grasp by Europeans.
Bleeker (1819-1878) served as a medical officer with the Royal Netherlands East India Army from 1842 to 1860 and there he amassed over 12,000 specimens that he sent back to the Netherlands. After his return to the Netherlands in 1860, Bleeker started publishing the Atlas Ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néerlandaises, intending to summarize his studies in Indonesia. Atlas Ichthyologique features over 1,500 vivid chromolithographic illustrations in nine volumes published between 1862 and his death in 1878.
Antiquariaat Junk, an antiquarian natural history bookseller located in Amsterdam since 1899, says of the Atlas Ichthyologique, “A magnificent ichthyological atlas, the most splendid work on fishes of the nineteenth century. It is the only major work on the fishes of the Indo-Pacific ocean.”