The ground of arts: teaching the perfect worke and practise of arithmeticke, augmented by Mr. Iohn Dee. And since enlarged Iohn Mellis.

London, Printed by Iohn Beale for Roger Iackson, 1623.


8vo. pp. [xxvi], 579, 582-613, [i]. Roman Black and Italic letter. “The third part or addition to this booke .. set forth by Iohn Mellis” has divisional title page; pagination and register are continuous.” ESTC. Floriated and white on black criblé initials, typographical ornaments, numerous mathematical tables and diagrams, ‘Francis 1802’ ms. on pastedown, further inscription crossed out beneath, record of death on rear fly dated 1755, autograph illegible at head of title. Very light age yellowing, light occasional mostly marginal water stain, a little heavier on last few leaves, original paper flaws at lower blank margin of Z7 and 8, pp. 484 -5 a little dusty. A very good, entirely unsophisticated copy, crisp and clean with good margins, (a few deckle edges) in contemporary limp vellum, remains of ties.

An unusually well preserved copy of an early edition of the most important English arithmetic of the sixteenth century. ‘Recorde has justly been called the founder of the English school of mathematical writers’ (DSB). Convinced of the usefulness of mathematical knowledge and with a desire to spread that knowledge as widely as possible, Recorde became a key figure in the vernacular tradition, being one of the first to write mathematical works in English. His works are primarily concerned with teaching useful mathematical techniques to his readers. Recorde wrote four mathematical textbooks, ‘The Ground of Artes’ (1543) on arithmetic, ‘The Pathway to Knowledge’ (1551) on geometry, ‘The Castle of Knowledge’ (1556) on astronomy and ‘The Whetstone of Witte’ (1557) on algebra. The use of the vernacular, along with his engaging style made Recorde’s works unprecedentedly popular. Rather than using technical terms borrowed from other languages, Recorde invented his own, adapting words from ordinary English. “Recorde was practically the founder of an English School of mathematical writers. He was the first writer in English on Arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, and the first to introduce algebra into England. He seems in fact to have been one of the first to see the independence of an algebraic operation and its numerical interpretation. Recorde is superior to others, even Vieta, in his perception of general results connected with the fundamental notions of algebra, and he is free from the tendency, then common, to invest simple numbers with the character of planes, solids, etc.” DNB. After Recorde’s death, the Grounde was edited first by John Dee and then by a string of successors, passing through at least forty-five editions up to 1699. “The arithmetic, the Ground of Artes (1543, enlarged in 1552), was the most popular of all Recorde’s works. The first edition (1543) dealt only with whole numbers, covering the fundamental operations, reduction, progression, golden rule and counter reckoning. In 1552 it was enlarged to include the same operations with fractions, and false position and alligation. …. Recorde was not only an able teacher and a skillful textbook writer but was also one of the outstanding scholars of mid-sixteenth-century England… his books remained the standard texts throughout the Elizabethan period. A generation of English scientists, especially the non university men, stated that Recorde’s books had been their first tutors in the mathematical sciences. The excellence of the English school of mathematical practitioners, fostered by growing geographical interests, has been attributed to the high quality of the vernacular movement in applied science begun by Recorde” (DSB). The schoolmaster John Mellis added many tables and a third part, here found with a separate titlepage, in 1582. This final part is an important work ints own right, dealing with merchants, trading, rules of three, loans and interest, barter, coins etc and even “Sportes and Pastimes done by number” All early editions of this book are rare, and particularly so in good contemporary condition, as most often with such practical works, they were used to oblivion.

ESTC S115718. STC 20808. Lowndes 2059. This edition not in Smith, Rara Arithmetica, or Grolier.


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ACOSTA, Jose de


Naturall and Morall Historie of the East and West Indies.

London, Printed by Val: Sims for Edward Blount and William Aspley, 1604.


FIRST EDITION thus. pp. [viii], 188, 187-590, [xvi]. A⁴ B-2P⁸ a⁴ b⁴(-b4). First leaf blank but for signature, “A”, last blank, variant omitting the words “the R.F.” on the title page, xylographic “The” at head of title. Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut ornaments on title, grotesque woodcut initials and headpieces, typographical ornaments, autograph of ‘George Chudleigh’ on title, and recto of last, many notes aphorisms, maxims and poetry, in Latin and English, in his hand such a quote from Herbert “religion stands on tiptoe in our land ready to pass to y American Strand”, in margins of first and last few leaves, autograph ‘Mary Chudleigh’ the poet on fly, repeated on verso of t-p, “Iain Drake 1846” on fly, marginal pencil nota bene in Book Five concerning religion in America. Light age yellowing, title a little thumbed at head, minor occasional oil stains in lower blank margins, the rare mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean, with good margins, in fine C19th olive calf, gilt and blind ruled to a panel design, covers bordered with a triple gilt and triple blind rule, stopped at corners with small fleurons, blind fleurons to outer corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, richly gilt in compartments, red morocco label gilt, edges and inner dentelles gilt, combed marbled end-leaves, all edges marbled to match, extremities fractionally rubbed. 

Rare and important first edition of the first English translation, by Edward Grimestone, of Jose de Acosta’s most valuable work on the Geography of the Americas and customs of their inhabitants. José de Acosta (1540-1600) was among the first Jesuit missionaries to embark for the Spanish New World. He spent much of his life in Peru. The main settlement of the order was situated in the village of Juli, on Lake Titicaca, where a college was set up to study the languages of the locals, while the newly-funded Jesuit printing press issued the first printed book of the Americas in 1577. Later, Acosta moved to Lima and taught theology at the university. Acosta took a very active part in the Third Council of Lima (1582-1583) reorganising the American church, and became its official historian. Following an adventurous journey through Mexico, in 1587 he headed back to Spain, where he was appointed head of the Jesuit college in Valladolid and later Salamanca. A prolific writer, he is mostly famous for this work, a most knowledgeable, realistic and detailed description of the New World. it was very successful and soon translated into Italian, French, German, Dutch and English. In this work Acosta provided the first account of altitude sickness, which affected him while crossing the Andes, and also describes snow blindness and the way in which he was cured by an Indian woman. He divided the Amerindians into three categories, acknowledging the Incas and Aztecs as advanced societies. Acosta attempted to demonstrate to his contemporaries that Amerindians were part of God’s original plan for mankind and thus were not inferior creatures undeserved of being Christianised and saved. In grounding his argument, the idea that the first inhabitants of America migrated from the biblical world (specifically from Asia), played a crucial role. Indeed, he was the first writer to postulate the existence of a land bridge at the northern or southern extremities of the two continents, long before the discovery of the Bering Strait. In his missionary zeal, Acosta was much concerned with the preparation and morality of priests, who he encouraged to study the aboriginal languages as an essential part of their duties. The work provides one of the most important descriptions of the ancient civilisations of Peru and Mexico in the C16th at a crucial moment, particularly of the religion, folk-lore and festivals of the Peruvians.

A most interesting provenance. The Lady Mary Chudleigh was an English poet whose strong views on the emancipation of women were, perhaps, well ahead of their time. She wrote a number of poems and essays on the relationships between men and women and maintained a strong feminist stance in much of her work. Her poem ‘To the Ladies’ is a clear message to those women who, usually by tradition, have to suffer the social and financial domination of their husbands. She was born Mary Lee in August 1656 in the Devon town of Winslade. It was not common for girls to be well educated but she managed to teach herself much on the subjects of philosophy and theology and she was a keen reader of literature. By the age of 18 she married Sir George Chudleigh, 3rd Baronet of Ashton, Devon, probably whose notes are in this work. It has been suggested that an overbearing husband may have influenced her feminist-themed writing however, he did not stand in the way of her writing career. Her social circle included such intellectuals as Lady Mary Wortley, Elizabeth Thomas and Mary Astell, all fellow writers. Her early work appeared to be typically Restoration in style – lyrical and satirical – while later pieces were of a much more philosophical nature. Her relatively small output included The Ladies’ Defence, published in 1701, and Poems on Several Occasions which was published in 1703 and dedicated to Queen Anne as a safety net from the social backlash that she clearly expected once her views became public. In 1993 The Poems and Prose of Mary, Lady Chudleigh was published by the Oxford University Press.

ESTC S100394. STC 94. Sabin. 131. Alden 604/1. Church 328. Arents 67. JCB II:24.


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Edicts et ordonnances des roys de France… 

Paris, Jacques du Puys, 1580. 


FIRST EDITION. Folio, vol. one of four. pp. [cii] 827 [xlvii]; ã4, *6 , +-4+4, 5+6, a-d6, a-z6, A-Z6, AA-ZZ6, (ZZ6 blank), &&6, ãã-ee6, ii4 (last blank). Roman letter, some Italic. Du Puy’s beautiful large fountain device on title, fine grotesque woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, autograph “Abraham Girard, 1620” Bookplate of Maurice Burrus on pastedown, his mms. purchase label on rear fly. Light age yellowing, rare marginal minor stain. A fine copy, crisp and clean with good margins in contemporary calf, covers with large central, gilt stamped scrolled and hatched arabesque, spine with raised bands, large fleuron gilt at centres, title gilt lettered in compartments, covers probably C19th overworked in gilt with a border of painted scroll work in yellow red and black, spine compartments in a similar style, small loss from head and foot of spine.

A beautifully bound copy of Fontanon’s major work, one of the first works to attempt a compilation of the Royal edicts in France. The already very handsome contemporary binding was probably over worked in the C19th with a sumptuous, beautifully worked, painted scroll-work decoration in a contemporary style. This overworking was not necessarily done to deceive but to supply the taste for such rich bindings both in England and France.

The Estates General under Henry III, particularly the Ordinances of Blois, called for the codification of French Royal Law. “More specifically, code 207 of Blois responded to the unanimous petitions from the estates with the promise to produce a one-volume compilation of French royal law. Before the King had time to carry out his promise, a private initiative saw the light of day which attempted just that. Antoine Fontanon, ‘avocat’ at the Parelment of Paris, published the first edition of his compilation in 1580. The preface explained that the mammoth task had been a collaborative enterprise, based on earlier attempts, especially that of Pierre Rebuffy. He was assisted by Adrien DuBrac, Pierre Pithou, and others. Fontanon’s compilation was impressive in its scale and accuracy. It was organised primarily not by date, but by subject matter, following the categorisation (though not the order) of the Ordinances of Blois. Fontanon made careful ‘abstracts’ of many edicts, noting alterations during their registration by the Parlement. Explicit in the work was therefore a defence of the authority of the Parlement and a vision of the French Monarchy as, since its institution ‘sous le nom du peuple Francois’, always moderated by the ‘loix tres-sainctes & coustumes louables’. That was not at all what Henry III had in mind. So, three years later, to coincide with the Assembly of Notables at Saint-Germain-en-laye, he asked the premier président of the Parlement of Paris, Barnabé Brisson .. to coordinate a new ‘official’ compilation.” Mark Greengrass ‘Governing Passions: Peace and Reform in the French Kingdom, 1576-1585

A fine copy in a beautiful binding.

USTC 45413. Saffroy 8703. ‘Ouvrage important sur les institutions, la noblesse et les matières féodales’. Andrew Pettegree. French Vernacular Books, 40681.


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KNOLLES, Richard

The generall historie of the Turkes, …vnto the yeare 1638.

[London], Printed by Adam Islip, 1638.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio, pp. [xii], 1500, [xx], 31, [xxxiii]: A-5Z⁶, 6A⁸, 6B⁶, 6C-6Q⁴ 6R⁶, 6S-6X⁴, [par.]-2[par.]⁶, 3[par.]⁴. “”The liues of the Othoman kings and emperors” has separate dated title page; pagination and register are continuous. “A continuation of the Turkish historie, from the yeare of our Lord 1628, to the end of the yeare 1637. .. By Thomas Nabbes” (caption title) has separate pagination; register is continuous.” ESTC. Roman letter, title within fine engraved architectural border by Lawrence Johnson with Royal arms at head, Turkish and Christian warriors at either side respectively and battle scene at foot (Johnson p.34), grotesque woodcut initials, head-pieces, and ornaments, 33 engraved portrait busts within ornamental frames in fine impression. Light age yellowing, rare and inoffensive age browning, title fractionally dusty, occasional minor spot or mark. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in handsome contemporary speckled calf, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with raised bands, double blind ruled in compartments, tan morocco label gilt lettered with gilt corner and border-pieces a.e.r. vellum stubbs, a little rubbed at extremities. 

Last and most complete of the early editions of the first large scale history of the Turks in the English language. It is a monumental volume which took Knolles twelve years to write; this edition is enlarged with a continuation to 1637 by Thomas Nabbes taken principally from the despatches of the British Ambassador at Constantinople. The illustrations are mostly of Sultans and Viziers but there are some non-Turkish portraits e.g. Scanderbeg, Sigismund of Transylvania and Tamerlane; there are six more engravings than in the first ed. Most of the portraits are reverse copies of Theodor de Bry’s from Boissard’s Vitae et Icones Sultanorum, 1596, with new borders elegantly supplied by Johnson. Remarkably, these and the title page are virtually the only known examples of his work.

Knolles is now of greater interest for a C17th. English view of the Ottoman empire and some rather splendid prose than as an historical source book, but well into the C19th. his was the authoritative work on Turkish history. Dr.Johnson could not praise it too highly, Coleridge read Knolles’ account of the great siege before setting out for Malta and Byron ascribed to his childhood reading of it his lifelong fascination with the Levant. “The recent victories of Mahomet III over the Christians must have rendered the Turkish question of vital interest to the security of Europe, and the struggle remained in the balance till the end of the seventeenth century. There is no wonder in consequence at the popularity of Knolles.”, Hind II pp.37-8.

“Published in 1603, Richard Knolles’ monumental work is popularly known as The Generall Historie of the Turkes.The opening section describes the Saracen and Seljuk Turkic kingdoms that preceded the Ottomans in Anatolia.., and the last section is a long essay entitled ‘Discourse of the Greatnesse of the Turkish Empire’. These sections generalize about the Ottomans and view them (in an oft quoted phrase) as “the present terror of the world”. The heart of the work, however, is The Lives and Conquests of the Othoman Kings and Emperours, thirteen books each devoted to the character and accomplishments of an individual sultan. In a thousand pages, Knolles provides for English readers the most richly detailed accounts of the sultans’ exploits to date. .. the Generall Historie went through six editions, continued and updated by other hands. Judging by the dog-eared condition of the many surviving copies, the folio was eagerly read,and Knolles’ literary influence continued even after his history was out of date.” Linda McJannet. ‘Citing “the Turkes’ Own Chronicles”: Knolles’ Generall Historie of the Turkes.’

ESTC S112920. STC. 15055. Lowndes III 1286. Blackmer 920.2487. 


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PARÉ, Ambroise [with] DUFOUR, Gerald [with] SABATIER, Jean-Pierre

PARÉ, Ambroise. Cinq livres de chirurgie. 

Paris, chez André Wechel, 1572.

DUFOUR, Gerald. Dissertatio de Febribus in genere.

Montpellier, Apud Fraciscum Rochard, Universitatis Typographum unicum, 1729.

SABATIER, Jean-Pierre. Tentamen medicum de variis calculorum biliarum speciebus, diversoque ab ipsis pendentium morborum genere. 

Montpellier, Jean Martel, 1758.


FIRST EDITION. 3 works in one volume. 8vo., pp. [xii] 470 [ii]. ã8,e4, a-z8, A-F8, G4. pp. (vi) 44. pp. (vi) 100. Roman letter, Italic side-notes. Title within charming woodcut border, grotesque woodcut initials and headpieces, portrait of the author within roundel on verso of t-p, 41 fine woodcuts of medical operations and instruments, anatomy etc., “Le quatre mai mille sept cens soixante huit” mss at head of title, C. Bergouhnioux ink stamp on a few leaves, ‘Ex. Steedman – BGA 1948’ in pencil on verso of fly. Title page and verso of last dusty, very light waterstain at head of first leaves, the odd marginal stain or spot. A very good, clean copy, with good margins in early C19th vellum over boards for C. Bergouhnioux, (gilt stamped at base of spine) spine gilt ruled in compartments, fleurons gilt at centres, tan morocco label gilt, a little soiled.

Very rare and important first edition of Ambroise Paré’s greatest work, illustrated with a woodcut portrait of Paré at the age of 55 and 41 woodcuts depicting surgical operations and instruments. ”The Cinq livres contains all new material. It had been called by several serious writers Paré’s chef d’oeuvre. In it appears the first description of the fracture of the head and of the femur. Secondly, it is the first appearance of the whole teaching of bandages, fractures, and dislocations which has come down to us from the ancients, broadened by Paré’s own experience. It is undoubtedly one of his most important works” (Doe 19). This eminently practical work is very rare, even more so in good condition, as copies were undoubtedly much used in the field as a practical guides. “Paré’s original books, all very rare today, were handy volumes, small enough for the field surgeon’s knapsack” Hagelin. “During the 1537 siege of Turin, a young French barber-surgeon abandoned the conventional wisdom about the treatment of bullet wounds, giving rise to a revolution in surgical techniques and pedagogy. Ambroise Paré .. set the stage for the modern melding of scientific medicine and the invasive procedures that define surgery at the turn of the 21st century. The dogmatic quality of Galenism meant that physicians until the Renaissance – and in many ways until the 19th century – did not practice a medicine based on practical observation, experience, and empirical analysis. The treatments proscribed by Galen and the earlier Hippocratic writings were first comprehensively challenged by Paré and the anatomical writings of Paré’s contemporary, Andreas Vesalius. … Paré made his break from the traditional practices in 1537 when he ran out of the boiling oil solution conventionally used to “detoxify” and cauterize wounds caused by gunpowder-driven projectiles. He replaced this harsh treatment with a soothing balm made from egg yolks, rose oil, and turpentine. The next morning, he was astonished to find the recipients of his new treatment were resting easily while those who suffered the cauterizing oil were “feverish” and afflicted with “great pain and swelling about the edges of their wounds”. Seeing the dramatic difference between the “proper” and improvised treatments, Paré resolved to only treat cases with procedures he had personally observed to be useful. This resulted in such innovations as the use of ligatures in amputations, treatments for sucking chest wounds, and a cure for chronic ulcers of the skin. Although this experimentally driven medicine did not come to define the physician’s practice until the rise of the Paris Clinic in the 19th century, these first writings established an important foundation of empiricism in European medicine. … By writing in his native language, Paré was able to produce a series of volumes renowned for their clarity of form and easily accessible to his fellow barber-surgeons. His reliance upon the experiences of a long and notable career (he was often away at wars, attending high officials and, later, kings) gave his arguments heft .. [His] publications went beyond the descriptions of procedures and his books included illustrations of the instruments he employed, another groundbreaking innovation for surgical texts. .. Ambroise Paré’s numerous technical innovations and literary contributions to the art of surgery were deeply felt in the continued development of surgery following the 16th century. ..  His emphasis on techniques that minimized the damage done to the tissues of the patient has guided the development of the gentle art of surgery in the many centuries since his writings first appeared. Although his writings and techniques appeared during a time in which surgery was a separate realm from medicine proper, physicians and surgeons can now look to Paré as the founder of modern surgery, a restorative process that heals the body with minimal suffering.” Drucker. ‘Ambroise Paré and the Birth of the Gentle Art of Surgery.’

The work was bound with two very interesting C18th medical theses both printed at the University press at Montpellier, the world’s oldest medical school still in operation, by C. Bergouhnioux, a surgeon and author of medical works. 

USTC 29581 Janet Doe, ‘Bibliography of the works of Ambroise Paré’. no. 19. Brunet IV 366. not in Adams, Eimas, Durling, Norman, Wellcome, or Mortimer Harvard. Copac records just one copy, at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.


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The surveiors dialogue very profitable for all men to peruse, but especially for all gentlemen, or any other farmar, or husbandman…

London , Printed by I. W[indet] for I. Busby, Fleetstreet, 1610.


4to. pp. [xvi], 103, 106-144, 153-184, 145-152, 155-218, 119-120, [ii]. First blank but for signature-mark “A”. “Quires M and N are unsold sheets from the 1607 edition.” here bound out of order but complete. Roman letter, some Black and Italic. Large woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, tables and diagrams. Paper stubbs and rear pastedown (unstuck), waste from a large bible leaf, Psalm 104. Very light age yellowing, very rare mark or spot, cut a little close at upper margin trimming a few running headlines. A fine copy, fresh and clean in remarkably preserved contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine triple blind ruled in compartments, edges gilt scrolled, a.e.r.

A very good copy of the second edition of the first English book on surveying of the seventeenth century. There were three editions between 1607 and 1618. The Surveiors dialogue, draws on Norden’s experience as surveyor of the Duchy of Cornwall, as well as of the royal castles and crown woods in various counties. “Important because of Norden’s clear account of the operation of the court of survey and because of his efforts to reconcile the differences between surveyor and tenant.” A.W. Richeson, ‘English land measuring to 1800, 1966’.

“Norden’s text – unlike Rathborne’s – was intended more for a general audience than a readership of fellow or aspiring surveyors, and Norden emphasises not the specialised, technical aspects of the craft but instead the social, legal, and agricultural components of surveying. For Norden, the surveyor possess a social role that is inextricably linked to the management and preservation of agrarian life. As the Surveyor points out in his first dialogue with the farmer, ‘plotting’, while necessary, is not the ‘chiefe part’ of surveying practise… In the early modern period, surveys were conducted under the jurisdiction of the manorial court system, the Court Baron, and were typically known as Courts of Survey in reference to their authorising body and institutional context. The survey was not primarily a technical endeavour conducted by an individual surveyor that produced a visual document in the form of an estate map. On the contrary, as Norden ..indicates, it was a textual process that entailed the collection and interpretation of deeds and other legal documents. The result was not a ‘map’ per se but a textual inventory of land boundaries and features. .. The thematic versatility of the Surveyor’s dialogue is reflected in the frequency with which it has been cited in critical studies from a range of fields: not only early modern surveying, but also mathematics, geometry, and the history of science, mapping and the history of cartography, agrarian and agricultural history, and economic history, especially Marxist studies of the history of capitalism” Mark Netzloff ‘John Norden’s The Surveyor’s Dialogue (1618): A Critical Edition.’

“Norden’s fame came from his cartography, but surveying was always the mainstay of his career… In 1600 he was…appointed surveyor of crown woods and forests in southern England, and in 1605 he added the surveyorship of the duchy of Cornwall… It was from this position of eminence that in 1607 Norden published ‘The Surveyor’s Dialogue’ as a text to educate the landowner and tenant in the usefulness and trustworthiness of his profession. Surveyors were often considered the landowner’s creature and were accordingly distrusted by tenants. A popular work, the Dialogue shows Norden as a compassionate man, in sympathy with the respectable and hard-working of every class; the book ran to three editions in his lifetime” (ODNB). 

A very good copy.

ESTC S120956. STC 18640b. Richeson, English Land Measuring to 1800, pp. 92–94. Kress 279 (1st edn.)


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DODOENS, Rembert

Stirpium historiae pemptades sex siue libri XXX. variè ab auctore, paullò ante mortem, aucti & emendati

Antwerp, ex officina Plantiniana : apud Balthasarem et Ioannem Moretos, 1616


Folio. pp. [xvi], 872, [lxviii];*8, A-Z6, a-z6, 2A-2Z6, 2a-2h6, 2i8. Roman letter, some Italic  Greek and Gothic. Very fine engraved architectural title-page with figures of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, below, figures of Adam and Salomon at sides, with 1341 botanical woodcut botanical illustrations, Plantin’s woodcut printer’s device on verso of last, woodcut initials and tail-pieces, manuscript poem in Greek on first fly, autograph above of Eus. Ansling 1878, his note below comparing with other botanical works, early shelf mark on fly. Age yellowing, occasional very minor marginal browning and spotting, the rare mark or stain. A very good copy in excellent contemporary polished vellum over boards, covers blind ruled to a panel design, fleurons to outer corners, C.S.R.B. and 1616 stamped on upper cover, later ornate armorial monogram with crown gilt stamped at centre, spine blind ruled in compartments fleurons at centres, upper joint restored. 

A beautifully printed edition of the most famous work of Rembert Dodoens, first published in 1583, very finely illustrated with over a thousand three hundred fine woodcuts. It is the second and definitive edition of Dodoens’ “last and most comprehensive botanical work” (Hunt), including more illustrations than the first edition. Plantin acquired a portion of the blocks, those already used for the octavo edition of Leonhard Fuchs’ herbal, from the widow of Jan van der Loe, the publisher of Dodoens’ Cruydeboek. The rest were the work of the artist Pieter van der Borcht, whose collection of paintings in the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin forms one of the most important surviving collections of 16th-century flower paintings..

“Rembert van Joenckenna was the real name of the Author of the Cruydedock of 1554 but he was known to an English readership as Rembert Dodoens, author of ‘A New Herbal or Historie of Plants’ translated by Henry Lyte, published in London in 1619. … His most important scientific work was the Stirpium historiae pemptades sex siue libri XXX of 1583. A translation of this work formed the basis of Gerard’s Herbal. In 1574, he took up an appointment as physician to the Emperor Maximillian II in Vienna, where Charles D’Ecluse was in charge of the Imperial Botanic garden. He remained there as physician to Maximillian’s successor, Rudolf II, until 1580, when he attempted top return to Malines but because of political turmoil he lived in Cologne and then Antwerp”. Graeme Tobyn ‘The Western Herbal Tradition E-Book: 2000 years of medicinal plant knowledge’. In 1582 Dodoens supervised his friend Plantin’s printing of his Stirpium historiae pemptades sex sive libri XXX which was published in full in 1583 and reprinted posthumously in this 1616 with additions. This was Dodoens’ most elaborate treatise and  most important scientific work, where he divided plants into twenty six groups and introduced many new families, adding a wealth of illustration either original or borrowed from Dioscorides, de l’Éluse, or De Lobel. Dodoens (1517-1585) was the first Belgian botanist to enjoy world wide renown. It was his interest in the medicinal aspects of botany which induced him to write a herbal. 

The work contains a very extensive and most useful indexes of the Greek, Latin, Arab, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Bohemian, Belgian, and finally English names of plants. A very handsome copy of this beautiful and most influential work. 

BM STC Low Countries, 1601-21 p. 162, D67. Krivatsy 3302, Nissen BBI 517. Bibl. Belg. D 119. Hunt I, 201, “The author’s last and most comprehensive herbal, including several of his previously published works”. Wellcome I, 1824.


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A geographical historie of Africa, written in Arabicke and Italian by Iohn Leo a More, … Translated and collected by Iohn Pory,.

London, [Printed by Eliot’s Court Press] impensis Georg. Bishop, 1600.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio, pp. [viii], 60; 420. [pi]⁴, a-e⁶, A-O⁶, Q-2N⁶. Double page engraved map. Roman letter some Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title, historiated and floriated woodcut initials, typographical ornaments, “Liber Thomas Smith. pre. 5S-6D– Anno Salutis 1623” at head of second leaf. Title page and verso of last a little dusty, minor marginal soiling at edges of first few leaves, quires A and M a little shorter, rare marginal stain or spot. A very good copy, the map in good dark impression, in handsome contemporary calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with blind hatched raised bands, blind ruled in compartments, well rebacked and laid down, holes for ties, a.e.r.

The important first edition in English, translated by John Pory, of this seminal classic of African topography and ethnography. Leo Africanus was an early C16 traveller who recorded in great detail the life of many remote North African kingdoms. He was born in Granada but in the 1490s his family moved to Fez in Morocco where Leo ultimately entered the service of the Sultan who sent him on commercial and diplomatic missions across northern and western Africa. In 1518 he was returning by sea from Istanbul and was captured, perhaps by Knights of Malta, who took him to Rome. There, under the patronage of Pope Leo IX he composed the present description of Africa, first published in Italian in 1550. It was a bestseller, put Leo at the centre of Roman intellectual life and remained one of Europe’s principal sources of knowledge of the Arab-African world for the next 400 years.

“It was translated into English in 1600 by John Pory. Pory’s letter ‘To the Reader’ tells the fascinating story of Leo’s life – a tale of complex interaction between Europe and Africa, Islam and Christianity. .. This book was important in that it was written by a Moorish man and well regarded by scholars. However Pory is aware that some readers at this time might distrust the writings of a ‘More’ and a ‘Mahumetan’ (or Muslim), and he reassures them of Leo’s sophistication: his ‘Parentage, Witte, Education, Learning, Emploiments, Travels, and his conversion to Christianitie’.” BL

It is very probable that Shakespeare was influenced by this work in his portrayal of Othello. “Pory’s account of Leo’s marvellous escape from ‘so manie thousands of imminent dangers’ might remind us of Othello’s tale of ‘hair-breadth escapes i’ th’ immanent deadly breach’. Like Leo, Othello tells of being ‘sold to slavery’ and we later learn that Othello was also a former Muslim, now baptised as a Christian. In his description of African people, Leo takes pains to give a balanced perspective, though it seems nonetheless stereotyped and prejudiced. Celebrating their ‘vertues’, he says Africans are ‘Most honest people … destitute of fraud and guile’. But ‘no nation in the world is so subject to jealousie’ (p. 40). In the unpleasant description of their ‘vices’, he says they are ‘very proud and high-minded, and woonderfully addicted unto wrath’. They are also ‘so credulous that they beleeve matters impossible which are told to them’ (p. 41) and promiscuous in wooing ‘divers maides’ before settling on a wife (pp.41–42). It is hard not see these qualities reflected in Shakespeare’s Othello, at least as Iago describes him. Exploiting the stereotypes that define the Moor in Venice, Iago talks of the ‘free and open nature’ that makes Othello think ‘men honest’ when they only ‘seem so’. He tells Roderigo he suspects ‘the lusty Moor’ of sleeping with Emilia, and plans to ‘put him into jealousy so strong’ that his anger will cloud his judgement.

Pory’s English translation (1600) was printed in the same year as the Moroccan ambassador’s visit to London to negotiate a military alliance between English and African forces, with the hope of conquering Spain. In his letter to Sir Robert Cecil, Elizabeth I’s secretary, Pory exploits this opportunity to market the book as particularly current, saying ‘At this time especially I thought [it] would proove the more acceptable’.” BL

A handsome copy of this rare and influential first English edition

ESTC S108481. STC 15481. Luborsky & Ingram. Engl. illustrated books, 1536-1603, 15481. Sabin, 40047.


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A set of four acupuncture and moxibustion charts.

Japan, Bushu Toshima, dated Kanbun 2 (1662), Edo Period.

木版画彩色 明堂三人図、人身五臓之図、武州豊嶋、寛文二年


Four large woodblock printed acupuncture and moxibustion charts known as a Meidō zu, printed on paper in sumi ink with hand-painted details in colour, each entitled at the top: ‘Fukujin Meidō-no zu’ (Front view of the Illuminated hall), ‘Sokujin Meidoō no zu’ (Side view of the Illuminated hall), Gyojin Meidō no zu’ (Rear view of the Illuminated hall) and ‘Jinshin gozō no zu’, (the picture of five human organs). Text in Min-cho kanji (Chinese Ming Dynasty script) and depicting figures with locations of acupuncture points (keiketsu) and ‘qi’ channels running through the human body. The last scroll showing a half-length figure with a diagram of internal organs (gozō) bears the date, Kanbun Mizunoe tora (Kanbun, year of the tiger), in early summer, at Bushu  (Musashi Provence) Toshima.

Each print, approximately 860 x 270 mm, is backed on pale brown and blue paper and mounted as a hanging scroll with lacquer scroll-ends, each scroll approximately 1340 x 320 mm, with a fitted wooden box.

The title of the prints: Meidō (Illuminated hall) is derived from the name of the building in which the ancient Chinese Emperors conducted rituals and ceremonies related to cosmology. Here, the human body is the Meidō, and a microcosm of the external world, the model and the image of the universe are depicted within it.

In the illustration of three views of the figure, there are twelve main ‘qi’ energy channels (meridians) handcoloured in red, yellow, white, black, and blue, representing Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood, based on the traditional Chinese philosophy of  ‘Wu Xing’ (Five elements /phases of the universe).  The meridians and five phases combine and interact in a profound and complex manner. The invisible meridians run through the body, each corresponding to a particular organ, forming an intricate network of three hundred and forty-nine acu-moxa points, suggestive of constellations in the night sky.

The scrolls indicate the location of the acupuncture points and how deep the needle should go, as well as where to and not to apply moxibustion herbs to release or withhold energy. The classical Chinese text would not have been comprehensible to ordinary Japanese so these were designed for scholars. There was no public medical college in Japan at that time and many practising physicians also doubled as teachers, running small private medical schools alongside their practices. Hanging scrolls would have been eminently suited for both purposes.

It was believed that acupuncture and moxibustion were introduced to Japan in the 5th century by the Korean immigrants. However, it was not incorporated into mainstream teaching until the 17th century when a large number of medical/philosophy books were imported from China, and many highly skilled Chinese physicians sought sanctuary in Japan following the fall of the Ming dynasty.

During the Edo period (1603 – 1868), Chinese philosophy and literature also flourished in Japan, and neo-Confucianism (Shushigaku) became the official doctrine for the ruling samurai government. From the evidence of these charts, Chinese medicines and Confucianism were likely taught side by side as they share the same roots – the belief that the function of the ‘qi’ energy in the human body should be maintained in harmony and balance with the external world.

Many Confucian scholars in the Edo period became medical doctors, adapting their knowledge and skills to the profession as they were able to study medical text books written in Chinese.  As the urban population grew, so did the demand for physicians, and Chinese medicine was now taught at private schools or homes. The charts such as these could well have been hung on the wall of the schools or at the doctors’ practices.

The Meido chart was modeled on a life-size bronze man with all the meridians and acu-moxa points drawn on the figure created in the Song dynasty (960 – 1279) in China, and therefore the charts are also called Meidō dōjin zu (Illuminated hall, bronze figures).  Large printed figures such as these were used since the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644).

The scrolls are the Japanese version of the Ming dynasty ‘Mingtang tu’ with additional information, and are one of the earliest examples of Japanese single-sheet woodblock prints showing sophisticated printing skills, with meticulous details and vigorous lines, which subsequently evolved into early ukiyo-e (picture of floating world) prints in the late 17th century.

From the collection of Jean Blondelet, the greatest French collector of rare medical books of the 20th century.


M. Mayanagi ‘Ryukoku daigaku wakan kichoseki kaidai’ (Introduction to the rear oriental books at the Ryukoku University, Kyoto 1997)

K. Nakamura ‘Meridians map and model theory’ (Meiji University of Oriental Medicine, 1997)

H. Yasui ‘History of Japanese acupuncture and Moxibustian’ (Japan institute of TCM research, 2010)


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[SOTO, Hernando de], HAKLUYT, Richard

Virginia richly valued, by the description of the maine land of Florida, her next neighbour.

London, Felix Kyngston for Matthew Lownes, at the signe of the Bishops head in Pauls Churchyard, 1609.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to., pp. [viii] 180. A-Z⁴, 2A². Roman letter some Italic. Small woodcut ornament on title, white on black criblé initials, some historiated. Light age yellowing, t-p fractionally dusty, expert repairs to worm trail to blank margins of first half of book, sometimes just touching side-notes, blank outer margins of last two leaves repaired, just touching a few letters of side-notes, as with the blank outer upper corner of N2, headline of penultimate leaf fractionally trimmed, minor marginal spot or thumb mark. A good copy, in modern calf antique, spine with raised bands, green morocco label, a.e.g.

First English edition of one of the great narratives of American exploration and one of the earliest printed books relating to Texas. Hakluyt was a gifted geographer and linguist, “one of the leading spirits in the Elizabethan maritime expansion” (PMM) and had met the foremost explorers of the age such as Drake, Raleigh, Gilbert and Frobisher, and corresponded with Ortelius and Mercator. With remarkable foresight, he saw America and India as key territories for the extension of British colonies and pleaded for an expansion of English interests there. He was a consultant to the East India Company and a patentee of that for Virginia. De Soto’s expedition took in the Florida coast before crossing Georgia to the Savannah River, down the Alabama River to the Mississippi before proceeding to Oklahoma. They returned along the Arkansas hoping to reach the Gulf but, finding only the Mississippi again, they ventured across the Texas plains to the Brazos River and, despairing of managing an overland route to Mexico, they returned once more to the Mississippi and proceeded down-river to the Gulf on rafts. This is a companion tract to Lescarbot’s ‘Nova Francia’ of the same year. The original text, Relaçlam verdadeira…, was printed in 1557 at Evora, Portugal and gives the best account of de Soto’s expedition to Florida. “It was translated by Hakluyt with a view of inducing settlers to go out to the new colony of Virginia. This translation is among the rarest of Hakluyt’s works”. Church.

“Hakluyt was associated with the Virginia Company as a patentee under its charters of 1606 and 1609 and as a shareholder, although his involvement was advisory at most and not in any way executive. He translated the account of the ‘Gentleman of Elvas’ of Hernando de Soto’s travels as ‘Virginia Richly Valued’ (1909), which he dedicated to the company as a work that ‘doth yeeld much light to our enterprise now on foot’. .. .He returned to a style of presentation recognisable from his 1584 ‘Discourse’, focusing on commodities, including gold and copper (relying on new reports from Harriot) pearls, mulberry trees, dyestuffs, salt, and the ongoing promise of a route to the South sea. His view of the ‘manners and dispositions’ of the ‘inhabitants’ remained essentially admiring, yet recent experience had taught that they could not be trusted. He recommended a mild approach, but stated that ‘if a gentle polishing will not serve’, there were enough ‘hammerous and rough masons .. I mean our soldiours trained up in the Netherlands, to square and prepare them to our Preachers hands’. Claire Jowitt. ‘Richard Hakluyt and Travel Writing in Early Modern Europe’.

The records of the expedition contributed greatly to European knowledge about the geography, biology, and ethnology of the New World. The de Soto expedition’s descriptions of North American natives are the earliest-known source of information about the societies in the Southeast. They are the only European description of the culture and habits of North American native tribes before these peoples encountered other Europeans. De Soto’s men were both the first and nearly the last Europeans to witness the villages and civilization of the Mississippian culture.

A good copy of this now exceedingly rare and important work. 

ESTC S122013. STC 22938; Church 337; Vail Frontier 13. Sabin 24896. Alden 609/131


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