Historia Plantarum. Earum imagines, nomenclaturae, qualitates, et natale solum.

Lyon, apud Gabriel Cotier, 1561


FIRST EDITION. 16mo. pp. 640, 229, [xxvii]. a-z8 A-R8; aa-qq8. Roman and Italic letter, some Greek. Title within charming woodcut border, small woodcut initials and headpieces, 636 woodcut botanical illustrations, names of the plants inscribed in English in an early had by many illustrations, label of ‘Myers and co. Holborn London’ on pastedown. Light age yellowing, title a bit browned and dusty, two small tears to head of t-p just touching border, some marginal dust & finger soiling, cut a little close at fore-edge just touching a few side-notes. A good copy, in early C19th calf, covers bordered with a gilt rule, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, rebacked with spine laid down, all edges marbled.

First edition of one of the earliest pocket herbals, a condensed version of the work of the botanist P. A. Mattioli by the French humanist Antoine du Pinet (d. 1584). Arranged alphabetically, each plant is illustrated and named, generally in five languages, Latin, Greek, French, Italian and German, though occasionally Arabic, or Spanish also. The text also includes brief notes on where the plant can be found, and what its “qualities” were. Appropriately for a book intended to be used in the field, this copy is annotated in English in an early hand giving the common English name for many of the plants. Most of the illustrations were copied from the 1554 edition of Mattioli’s Commentarii, frequently without reversal of image. For the most part, these entries have been inserted into the sequence in which they occur in Mattioli (there are exceptions, such as Opuntia and Galega). Mattioli is frequently acknowledged as a source of information; Fuchs is too, but none of the illustrations have been copied from Fuchs. Three illustrations, the Palma, Nux myristica and the Stramonia do not appear to be copied from Mattioli, though no other source has been located. Though the content is not original, its design was innovative. The work was one of the first portable herbals, made for use in the field; thus copies are often in poor condition. It appears to have been in English hands from an early date. The first part is a catalogue of plants while the second part, “Simplicium Medicamentorum,” is a repertoire of medicinal plants classed according to their therapeutic virtues..

“Antoine du Pinet was .. a protestant with a connection to Calvin. .. They had both studied under the direction of Andre d’Alciat and Melchior Wolmar. .. In 1536 Calvin appointed Du Pinet as Pastor of Villa-la-Grand in Cablais. Du Pinet also worked as Calvin’s assistant, correcting his works and translating his texts from Latin into French during Calvin’s period of exile in Strasbourg.. However, in 1548, there was a rupture in the relationship between Du Pinet and Calvin. .. Du Pinet was a productive humanist and translator. However, he was not opposed to plagiarism, when it served his purposes. .. Du Pinet’s character was probably better suited to the study of the humanities and science than to theological concerns. He translated Pliny’s World History into French and edited one of the first herbal manuals Historia Plantarum.” Ismo Puhakka. “Theology and Map Publishing”.

A good copy of this charming and innovative herbal.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. 145. USTC 153128. Adams D 1146. Pritzel 2539. Kew 2 146. Hunt 85. Welcome 4152 (under Mattioli). Nissen 565. Durling 1327. Baudrier IV, p.72. Alden 561/12.


Print This Item Print This Item