BELON, Pierre


De aquatilibus, libri duo cum [epsilon, iota] conibus ad viuam ipsorum effigiem, quoad eius fieri potuit, expressis.

Paris, Caroloum Stephanum, 1553.


FIRST EDITION. Oblong 8vo. pp. (xxxii), 448. a-b⁸, A-2E⁸. Roman letter, some Greek and Italic. 185 woodcuts in text most full page, almost all with contemporary hand colouring, early inscription crossed out at head of title page, “Sarthe, Le Mans, Pierre Belon a né au Le Mans en 15..,” in later hand on fly, early French inscription on the rear endpaper, “ex-libris C. Dupres,” with acquisition note from Paris with price, and bibliographical note “rare Citté dans debure.’ Title page a little dusty, light age yellowing with some minor spotting, the odd thumb mark and marginal splash or spot, minor dust soiling in places, cut a little close, just touching running headlines in places, and woodcut of the hammer-head shark in lower margin (as in the Harvard copy). A good copy, with excellent contemporary hand colouring, in early C18th cats paw calf, re-backed, spine re-mounted, all edges red.

First edition of Belon’s marvellously illustrated work on fish, molluscs and aquatic mammals, entirely coloured in a contemporary hand. Its appearance constituted the greatest single advance in the scientific study and classification of fish since Aristotle. This work, together with those of Belon’s contemporaries Rondolet and Salviani, remained standard texts for the study of fish well into the 17th century. The colouring in this copy is identical to that at Harvard, showing that this was the publisher’s colouring made for luxurious copies.

Physician, polymath, traveller, artist, and naturalist, Pierre Belon (1517 – 1564) was most famously a founding protagonist for the phenomenon of homology in comparative anatomy. He obtained his medical degree at the University of Paris and, under the patronage of Francois I, was sent on diplomatic missions abroad, which allowed him to study the wildlife of the eastern Mediterranean. Starting in 1546, he travelled through Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, Arabia, and Palestine, and returned in 1549. A full account of his travels, with illustrations, was published in 1553. Belon, who was highly favoured both by Henri II and by Charles IX, was murdered by persons unknown in Paris one evening in April 1564, when coming through the Bois de Boulogne.

“Belon’s de acquatilibus has 110 drawings of fish: 22 cartilaginous fish, 71 marine and bony fish, and 17 freshwater bony fish. The book also included Cetacea, seals hippopotamus, beaver and otter… his were probably the first published drawings of fish, less skilful than those of Rondelet and Salviani, yet Belon had valuable knowledge of eastern Mediterranean fish unknown to them.” Frank N. Egerton ‘Roots of Ecology: Antiquity to Haeckel.’ Belon’s woodcuts are particularly charming: “The figures representing them are easily recognizable, not-withstanding the simplicity of the style of the wood-engravings. His philosophical mind had a very correct appreciation of the genera. His groupings were made with a surprisingly just instinct. To an indefatigable activity he joined vast erudition. He brought to the front the study of nature and of the books that treat of it… The feature that especially prepared new bases for the science of fishes was his observations on the thoracic and abdominal splanchnology of those animals.” Popular Science Monthly, Volume 34.

Belon’s ‘De aquatilibus,’ and his later ‘L’Histoire de la nature des oyseaux’ (1555) entitle him to be regarded as one of the first workers in the science of comparative anatomy. Copies in contemporary hand colouring have always been significantly rarer that ordinary copies.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. 46. Adams B-554, Brunet I:761, Nissen ZBI 302, Pinon Livres de zoologie de la Renaissance 17. Not in Mortimer.


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BACON, Francis

De Verulamio Novum Organum, sive Indicia Vera De Interpretatione Naturae. Cui Praefixa Reliqua Instaurationis Magnae; Et Subjecta Parasceve Ad Historiam Naturalem et Experimentalem.

Glasgow, J. & J. Scrymgeour, 1803.


8vo., pp. (xxxvi) 305, (i). Roman letter, undecorated, ‘Deaccession’ stamp in lower blank margin of first, faded and repeated on pastedown. Light age yellowing, a good copy in contemporary tree calf, re-backed spine and label neatly remounted.


BACON, Francis

Historia Naturalis & experimentalis de ventis.

Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1662.


12mo. (viii) 232, (xvi). Roman and italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, engraved title page depicting the creation of a tempest through magic. Light age yellowing, a good clean, well-margined copy in ornate straight-grained red morocco by Bozerian with gilt-ruled and -rolled panels, compartments richly gilt on spine, all edges gold, marbled endpapers, armorial bookplate of Holland House on pastedown. Arthur Houghton’s acquisition note on rear free end paper.


BACON, Francis

Sylva Sylvarum.

Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1661.


Pp. (xxxii) 549, (xli) 3-86, (x). Roman letter, finely engraved title page, early manuscript case mark beneath, woodcut initials and ornaments. Autograph ‘George Sitwell 1677’ (of the Renishaw Sitwells) on ffep. Light age yellowing, good copy in contemporary calf gilt, spine remounted.

Gibson 186. Williams 1264.


BACON, Francis

Sylva Sylvarum (and) New Atlantis.

London, William Rawley for W. Lee, 1658.


Folio, two leaves (engraved portrait and title page), pp. (xvi). Upper margin cropped but with no loss of text, light age yellowing, otherwise a good copy in contemporary calf, panels and spine compartments ruled in blind, all edges speckled red.

Gibson 177b.


BACON, Francis

Scripta in Naturali et Universali Philosophia.

Amsterdam, Ludovico Elzevir, 1653. (with)

Historia Naturalis & Experimentalis de Ventis.

Leiden, Francis Hack, 1648.


12mo. Two volumes in one. pp. (xii) 336 + fold-out 337-496, (xvi) 232, (xvi).

FIRST EDITION of first, and FIRST LATIN EDITION of second work. 1) Roman and Italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, engraved title page depicting three debating philosophers with various instruments (astrolabe, globe, sextant), printed title page with Elzevir device. 2) Roman and Italic letter, head- and tail-pieces, engraved title page depicting the creation of a tempest through magic. Light age yellowing, fold-out plate torn with no loss, C19 ex libris on fly, in contemporary polished vellum, title written in brown ink on spine, all edges speckled blue.

Gibson 223 “important collection,” 110a.


BACON, Francis

Sylva Sylvarum.

Leiden, Francis Hack, 1648.


12mo. pp, (xxxvi) 612, (iil) 87, (i). Roman letter, finely engraved title page, autograph of Thomas James Phipos at head. Good, clean copy in contemporary vellum (a bit soiled), all edges red.

Gibson 185G.




Quadrupedum omnium bisulcornum historia.

Bologna, Gian Battista Ferroni for Marco Antonio Bernia, 1641.


Folio, pp. (8), 1040, (12). Roman and Italic letter, little Greek; engraved architectural and allegorical title by Gian Battista Coriolano, with rampant lions, nude figures and putti, large historiated and decorated initials, some decorative head- and tail-pieces, numerous detailed woodcut illustrations of animals, large printer’s device on final verso; a bit yellowed, mainly marginal light foxing, old repair to lower outer corner of 851. A good copy in contemporary vellum, yapped edges; early shelf mark on small oval label at head of rear cover; library stamp of Universitetets Zoologiske Museums of Copenhagen and eighteenth-century autograph ‘F. Bollin[?]’ on front endpaper; early duplicate stamp on title.

Second and slightly corrected edition of a ground-breaking investigation into hoofed (ungulate) quadrupeds, first published in 1621. Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) is regarded as the father of modern natural history due to his pivotal contribution to zoology, botany and geology. An erudite scholar of wide-ranging interests, he was the first professor of natural science at Bologna University. There, he established a renowned botanical garden and gathered a steady amount of specimens and detailed drawings of faunal and floral rarities in his private museum. Everything was later bequeathed to the City Senate. The majority of his extensive essays was published posthumously by his pupils with the support of the Bolognese Commune.

This vast zoological survey is not confined to scientific information on ungulates, but, in the encyclopaedic style of the author, touches also on their occurrences in European, Egyptian and Arabic literature and figurative art, as well as their meaning in prophecies and mystic symbolism and use in medical preparation. Descriptions of deformed exemplars and mythological creatures, like unicorns and centaurs, are included too. A fine copy of Dürer’s Rhinoceros (p. 884) and one of the earliest depictions of a giraffe (p. 931) stand out amongst the many zoological illustrations. Together with De quadrupedibus solidipedibus, De quadrupedibus digitatis viviparis and De quadrupedibus digitatis oviparis, this work represents one of the earliest and broadest scientific insights into quadrupeds’ features. The Scottish scholar Thomas Dampster (1579-1625) was involved in its publication as professor of humanities at the University of Bologna.

Not in BM STC 17th It. Nissen ZBI, 76; Bibliotheca Osleriana, 1770; Alden, 642/3; Graesse, I, 65.


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Monstrorum historia cum paralipomenis historiae omnium animalium.

Bologna, Nicolò Tebaldino for Marco Antonio Bernia, 1642.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, two volumes in one. 1): pp. (8), 748, (28); 2): pp. 159, (9), lacking final blank. Predominantly Roman letter, some Italic and little Greek; elegant engraved title by Giovanni Battista Coriolano with oval portrait of dedicatee, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand II, surrounded by personification of Faith and Justice and seven putti holding six medallions with ancient monstrous creatures and classical mottos, historiated initials and decorative head- and tail-pieces, over 300 large or full-page illustrations of monstrous or exotic creatures, separate title for 2), printer’s device on final verso; very occasional light damp stain to gutter, a couple of leaves dusty. An exceptionally good, well-margined copy in vellum from a mid-fifteenth-century double-columned manuscript of Biblical extracts in a Northern Italian hand with either Austrian or Southern Germany pink, blue, green and gilt decoration, contemporary title inked on spine with later shelf mark label; three original green silk laces out of four, yapped edges; a little soiled, tiny loss to spine; at head and foot of title, contemporary ex libris of Count Wolfgang Engelbert von Auersperg dated 1655; on front pastedown, armorial bookplate of the Auersperg family library in Ljubljana.

First edition, densely illustrated, of the unsurpassed early modern investigation of genetic deformities (both real and fantastic) in human and animal bodies. Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605) is regarded as the father of modern natural history due to his pivotal contribution to zoology, botany and geology. An erudite scholar of wide-ranging interests, he was the first professor of natural science at Bologna university. There, he established a renowned botanical garden and gathered a steady amount of specimens and detailed drawings of faunal and floral rarities in his private museum. Everything was later bequeathed to the City Senate. The majority of his extensive scientific essays was published posthumously by his pupils with the support of the Bolognese Commune.

This highly entertaining history of monsters is by far Aldrovandi’s most famous work. It includes all sort of multi-limbed and similarly deformed babies, girls, animals, plants and even stars, as well as mythical creatures such as Chimeras, Harpies, Sphinxes, Cyclopes, giants, centaurs, satyrs, gryphons, lycanthropes, mermen and mermaids. One can also find an early lavish illustration of the North American turkey cock (Gallus Indicus), an insight into uterine malformations, and depictions of Chinese, Sumatran, Java, American and African people. The second part of the work is taken up with additional entries to Aldrovandi’s animal history, describing other monsters and, remarkably, some exotic animals like llamas, hippopotami and pelicans, all with related illustrations.

This copy was bought by, and most likely bound for, the Austrian nobleman Wolfgang Engelbert von Auersperg (1610-1673), governor of Carniola and brother of Emperor Leopold I’s prime minister. A fine book collector and munificent patron, especially of Italian culture, he organised in his private garden in Ljubljana one of the earliest representation of an opera in Central Europe.

“Described are numerous American birds and beasts with native names cited, including an ‘Elaphocamelus,’ i.e. a llama.” Alden, 642/2.

BM STC 17th It., 15; Bruni-Evans, 109; Garrison-Morton, 534:53; Heirs of Hippocrates, 330; Nissen ZBI, 74; NML-Krivatsy, 187.


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De animalibus et alia.

Venice, Aldus, 1497 or 1498.


EDITIO PRINCEPS. Folio, ff. 457 (i.e. 458), (9), aaαα-&&ωω10, AA-ΠΠ10, PP10+1, ΣΣΦΦ10, XX8,*8, lacking blank XX8. Greek, little Roman in preliminaries; large decorated initials; recto of first leaf lightly soiled, old oil stain to gutters at head; tear from blank lower corner at 152, small tear at foot of 364; marginal damp stains, small central oil splash over final gathering. A good, well-margined copy in early plain goatskin, vellum spine superimposed; chipped corner and front joint lightly cracked; a bit worn. Extensive scholarly Greek and Latin annotations by Ottaviano Ferrari (1518-1586), his autograph at head of title, and occasionally a slightly earlier Italian hand; with the supplemental gathering added, printed later and often missing, densely annotated by a knowledgeable late sixteenth-century Italian philologist; Ferrari’s autograph on title, early shelfmark and late sixteenth-century owner’s annotation confirming the notes were by Ferrari and the volume was purchased from Cesare Rovida’s heirs; later table of contents on front fly verso; bibliographical inscriptions (inaccurate) on front pastedown.

The third volume from a series of five comprising the celebrated collected edition of Aristotle published by Aldus Manutius between 1495 and 1498. The first two sets of Aldine Greek Type 1 cut by Francesco Griffo appeared in this edition. This tome comprises nineteen treatises of Aristotle, manly focused on animals, plus five commentaries by his pupil Theophrastus on fish, dizziness, tiredness, smell and sweat. Arguably, no other thinker in history has been more influential than Aristotle. His detailed and comprehensive studies in zoology, forming about a quarter of his surviving works, provided the most complete account on the animal world until the sixteenth century and, in many respects, up to the Enlightenment.

This copy extraordinarily retains the original strip pasted by Aldus at foot of f. 100v (kkxv) to supply a missing line, like the copy of George III in BL and very few others. The colophon also bears the corrected variant οἰκίᾳ in place of οἰκείᾳ, as in BL Cracherode copy. Gathering *8, originally missing in many copies of the edition, was integrated here by a scrupulous later owner. It consists of a fragment from the tenth book of the History of Animals, which was added by Aldus at the very last moment, so it was not included in earlier press run.

The present copy is entirely annotated, mostly by the Milanese scholar Ottaviano Ferrari (1518 -1586). Ferrari read humanities at the Canobian schools in Milan and, for a short time, taught logic at the University of Pavia. He was a close friend of Giulio Poggiani, Jacopo Bonfadio and Aldus’s son, Paolo Manuzio. De disciplina Encyclio was his most appreciated work, published in 1560 by the Aldine press under Paolo’s management. It was a valuable introduction to Aristotelian philosophy. His important Greek manuscripts which he carefully collected are mostly in the Ambrosiana Library of Milan.

As a proof of his respect for Aristotle’s teachings, his medallion portrait (about 1560) shows the Greek philosopher on its verso. Ferrari declared himself as a passionate student of medicine too, an interest which was certainly the reason for him to dwell so much on this mainly naturalistic book within the Aristotelian corpus. His annotations are dense and incredibly learned. He went over and over the volume, using three different inks and writing sometimes quick and large, sometimes minute and precise. Yet, the habit of recording in the margins and over the lines the internal page numbers treating of similar subjects remains consistent over the years of his intensive study.

Along with etymological notes on animals’ names, Ferrari made continuous reference to major and minor works by Aristotle, their Greek and Arabic commentaries, as well as an impressive list of authorities, such as Plato, Herodotus, Plutarch, Aratus, Hippocrates and Galen, Pliny, Varro, Lucretius, Cicero, Vitruvius and even Thomas Aquinas and Albert Magnus. Nor are absent mentions of early modern scholars, like Joseph Scaliger, Denis Lambin, Lodovico de Varthema, Robert Estienne, Ippolito Salviani, Pierre Belon, Piero Vettori, Bessarion and Niccolò Leoniceno. Here and there, one can find quotations from Theodorus Gaza’s Latin translation of these zoological treatises; finally, there are occasional textual emendations (for instance, f. 164r), referring to a manuscript owned by Ferrari and another by Giovanni Battista Rasario (1517-1578), a renowned Aristotelian commentator and professor of Greek in Padua and Venice.

Upon Ferrari’s death, this copy was acquired by Cesare Rovida (c.1559-1591/4), remarkably as one of his many Greek manuscripts. A pupil of Ferrari, Rovida was a bibliophile and professor of medicine in Pavia. He also commented on Aristotle and Ptolomeus, though he failed to publish his works. Because of their extraordinary value, the Ferrari-Rovida codices were purchased by Cardinal Federico Borromeo in 1606 and became one of the founding nuclei of the Ambrosiana Library (see, for instance, MS H 50 sup., with De anima and ancient commentaries, as described in Martini-Bassi, n. 435). Yet, this interesting Aldine copy of Aristotle’s naturalistic treatises has followed a different path. As we learn from the lower inscription on the title, it was sold by Rovida’s heirs to another Italian collector, who checked and certified that the annotations were truly by Ferrari.

The annotations over the tenth book of History of animals in the last gathering are also very interesting. They record numerous textual variations and commented on early authorities mentioning the text (now thought to be a spurious later addition). They were written in a very neat hand by a late sixteenth-century Italian scholar in Latin, Greek and Italian. It is a pity they were not signed. On verso of the last leaf, the annotator reported the abbreviations of the many codices he used in his philological work. One of them is said to be formerly owned by Christophe de Longeuil (died in 1522) and then Lazzaro Bonamico (died in 1552). Only few Aristotelian students, for example of the calibre of Piero Vettori (1499-1585), were able to display such knowledge and elegant handwriting in their marginalia.

BMC V 555-556; BSB-Ink, A 698; GW 2334; Goff, A 959; IGI 791; Hain *1657; Renouard, 11.2.


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