Born in Etzel, Seba moved to Amsterdam as an apprentice and in about 1700, opened a pharmacy. Seba commissioned sailors and ship surgeons to collect exotic plants and animals for the use in preparing drugs and also began his natural hisory collection. From 1711 he supplied drugs to the Russian court and promoted his collection with the head-physician to Peter the Great, Robert Erskine (1674–1719). In early 1716 Peter the Great bought the complete collection. However, in the following years, Seba developed another collection. With Seba as an intermediate, Frederik Ruysch, a well-known Amsterdam physician and anatomist, also sold his collection to the tsar. Both collections formed the core of the Kunstkammer, the first Russian public museum founded by Peter the Great in 1712.
In 1728 Seba had become a Fellow of the Royal Society and in 1734, his famous work,A Cabinet of Natural Curiositieswas published.
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