New Feldt und Ackerbaw…in xv Buecher beschrieben,

Strassburg, Lazarus Zessner, 1602.


Folio. pp. [v], 646, [xxiv]. )(5, A-Z6, Aa-Zz6, Aaa-Jjj6, Kkk5. Gothic letter. Title in red and black, large gothic initials above, woodcut arms on )(3 recto, large floriated wood and metal-cut initials and ornaments, very numerous woodcut illustrations and diagrams. General mostly light age browning, (as usual) faint water-stain to blank lower margin. A good copy in C19th vellum over boards, title mss on spine a.e.r. a little soiled.

Rare second edition of this translation and adaption into German, effectively a new work, of Crescenzi’s celebrated Opus Ruralium Commodum, beautifully and profusely illustrated with fine woodcuts by Amman Jost and others. It is a close copy of the first, printed in 1583. It is in effect a compilation of Crescenzi’s work, Charles Estienne’s and Liébault’s L’agriculture, Strassburg 1579, and the German translation of J. Du Fouilloux’s book on hunting and falconry, also produced by Feyerabend, the ‘New Jag und Weydwerck Buch’, 1582. The volume is of great historical and technical interest, especially rich on agriculture, hunting, fishing. The hunting section is particularly interesting with many illustrated scenes. There are also important chapters on distilling and winemaking. The first edition was produced by the German publisher and woodblock-cutter Feyerabend who spent some time in Italy and perhaps also in Mainz. He employed almost all the printers in Frankfurt am Main and attracted the best book illustrators in the country, foremost among them Virgil Solis from Nuremberg and Jost Amman from Zurich, who was to become Feyerabrand’ most important illustrator after Solis’ death. The fine woodcuts in this work are mostly by, or after, Amman Jost, a few are signed with the initials of Christophe Maurer, and Ludwig Frig. They are mannerist in style and very effective.

Crescenzi’s work provides the basis here for a well-structured analysis of all the aspects of running a farm: having identified all the requirements that a good farm must satisfy to be chosen, it enumerates the different kinds of plants and how to cultivate them. It is devoted to the fields and their produce, examines in depth the cultivation of vines and the practice of winemaking, and constitutes an excellent source for the history of mediaeval enology. It also  deals with trees and fruits, herbs, woods and gardens, with two chapters on tobacco, a  dissertation upon animals, husbandry and veterinary, and contains a summary of the contents, according to the monthly and seasonal farming calendar.

“The name of Crescenzi had such fame that, for advertising purposes, it was added to books that had little to do with the original… Pietro Crescenzi was at the root of a type of literature called Hausväterliteratur in German, literally ‘reading for the father of the family’. They were easy to read, practical manuals for the common farmer dealing with subjects such as crop husbandry, gardening, cattle breeding, horses hunting, good manners health, and nutrition. Such books, with appropriate modifications, were held in esteem until far into the nineteenth century.” Jan C. Zadoks “Crop Protection in Medieval Agriculture”

A wonderful practical treatise, of great interest for the development of agriculture, enology and farming practice.

Not in BM STC Ger. C17th. Alden. 583/22. first edn “Contains two chapters on tobacco, taken from M. Sebisch’s translation of C. Estienne’s L’agriculture, publ. Strassburg, 1579, as Siben Bücher von dem Feldbau.” Arents (add.) 41. Nissen, ZBI 988 a


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