BELON, Pierre

ADVANCEMENTS IN ICHTHYOLOGY, WITH CONTEMPORARY HAND COLOURING

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

Paris, Caroloum Stephanum, 1553.

£7,500

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.

L2206

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ALDROVANDI, Ulisse

A PIONEERING WORK ON HOOVED ANIMALS

Quadrupedum omnium bisulcornum historia.

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

£3,750

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.

L2150

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ALDROVANDI, Ulisse

ON REAL AND FANTASTIC GENETIC MALFORMATIONS

Monstrorum historia cum paralipomenis historiae omnium animalium.

Bologna, Nicolò Tebaldino for Marco Antonio Bernia, 1642.

£17,500

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.

L1999

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CRESCENZI, Pietro de

Le Bon Mesnager. Au present volume des prouffitz champestres et ruraulx est traicte du labour des champs, vignes, jardins, arbres de tous especes

Paris, Nicolas Cousteau for Galliot Dupré, 1533.

£12,500

FIRST EDITION thus. 4to pp. (xvi) 185 (iii). Lettre Bātard in double column. Title in red and black with grotesque calligraphic initial L, white on black woodcut crible and floriated initials, two woodcut illustrations, woodcut coat-of-arms on final leaf, repairs in blank, engraved armorial bookplate of Damaso G Arrese on pastedown shelf label above. Title fractionally dusty, far lower blank corner repaired, occasional slight browning, the odd marginal mark. A very good clean copy, in early C19th calf, by Koehler, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, spine with gilt ruled raised bands with compartments gilt ruled to panel designs, edges and inner dentelles gilt, rebacked with original spine laid down a.e.g.

Exceptionally rare edition of this free French translation, the first to use this title, of the ‘Opus Ruralium Commodum’ by Pietro de’ Crescenzi, one of the most influential treatises in agronomy and agriculture. The work is illustrated with two fine woodcuts; the first represents the publisher offering his work to Francis I, signed with the Lorraine cross, a garden scene in the background with beehives, and the the second shows a husbandman sowing grain. Translated into many languages, the work was widespread in manuscript from the beginning of the 14th century and in printed editions since 1471.

The author, born in Bologna around 1233, was trained both in the Dominican schools and Bologna University, gaining extensive knowledge in logic, medicine, natural sciences and law. His career focused on this last field, and after being appointed ‘iudex’ (judge) he received assignments that took him all over Italy for more than thirty years. During his travels Crescenzi had the chance to visit a great number of rural villas and farms, developing a passion for agronomy and farming. Once retired, he dedicated himself to the project of writing an agronomical treatise in which to convey knowledge and techniques, ancient and modern, theoretical and practical; his efforts gave birth to the ‘Ruralium Commodum’. In his treatise the author often refers to classical and mediaeval authorities, such as Palladio, Varro, Albertus Magnus, Avicenna and the ‘Geoponika’, but he does not hesitate to confute their thesis, adding extensive considerations based upon the practical experience of the many farmers he had known. An interesting aspect of the essay is the public it was conceived for, the 14th century bourgeoisie, especially the class of jurists and notaries who had invested in farms and lands, and needed to obtain a good yield.

The work, divided into twelve books, provides 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. The third book is devoted to fields and their produce, while the fourth, examining in depth the cultivation of vine and the practice of winemaking, constitutes an excellent source for the history of mediaeval enology. Chapters from six to nine analyse trees and fruits, herbs, woods and gardens, at chapter nine starts a dissertation upon animals, husbandry and veterinary, followed by a chapter devoted to hunting and falconry. The practical, original approach of the treatise is demonstrated by the last two chapters, which after summarising the contents, reorder them according to the monthly and seasonal farming calendar. Appended to this edition is a thirteenth book on how to plant and maintain trees by “Gorgole de Corne”. A wonderful practical treatise, beautifully printed in fine lettre Batard, of great interest for the development of agriculture, enology and farming practice.

Not in BM STC Fr. C16th. Brunet II, 417. Schwerdt I, p. 127. Souhart 121. Petit 639. This edition not in Simon.

L1922

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JONSTON, John

A COMPREHENSIVE COMPENDIUM OF NATURAL SCIENCE

Thaumatographia Naturalis.

Amsterdam, Joannem Janssonium, 1633.

£950

12mo., pp. (vi) 578 (i.e. 576) (ii). Roman, italic and Greek letter, ornamental tail pieces, manuscript press mark on pastedown “yy-16,” unreadable early autograph on title page, age yellowing, slight water stain to some outer margins. Clean and good copy in contemporary calf, floral gilt ornament between raised bands on spine, slightly defective at head, double gilt rule to boards, upper joint slightly cracked, corners worn.

Significantly enlarged second edition of Jonston’s popular scientific work on ‘admiranda’ or wonders of nature organized into ten categories (heaven, earth, meteors, ‘fossils’ (for the most part precious stones) or minerals, plants, birds, quadrupeds, insects and ‘bloodless’ animals, fish, and humans) heavily referencing classical sources such as Aristotle, Pliny, and Seneca. Imitating the style of earlier scientific compendia, the Thaumatographia keeps up with the times, including the more recent work of Aldrovandi, discussing the flora and fauna (and tobacco) found in the New World, a section on the activity of the heart and its role in the cardiovascular system, and is up to date with meteor sightings to 1629. Finally, by pairing these more exciting discoveries concerning the body and the heavens with discussion of topics in natural history, Jonston helped breathe new life into that branch of learning. Each section is headed by a useful index of its contents, and the work concludes with a poem in praise of Jonston by the Bohemian poet Vencleslaus Clemens.

John Jonston (1603-1675), from an old Scottish family living in Poland, returned to Scotland in 1622 and studied natural history at St. Andrews for four years. He also received the degree of Doctor of Physic from both Leyden and Cambridge. Despite the compact size of Thaumaturgia, his earliest work, its wide range of material prefigures his later, large-scale works on Fish, Insects, Birds, and Trees, made possible by his extensive travel through Europe and access to its libraries, as well as first-hand observation.

Garrison-Morton 287 “A compilation of all the contemporary zoological knowledge”; Wellcome I 3478; Pritzel 4940. Alden 633/64, cf. Arents (Add) 261. Not in Shaaber or Sabin.

L1515

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JONSTON, John

TREATISE ON THE NATURAL WORLD, OF SCOTTISH PROVENANCE

Thaumatographia naturalis.

Amsterdam, Guilielm Blaeu, 1632.

£1,250

FIRST EDITION. 12mo., (xii) 501 (iii). Roman and Italic letter, woodcut initials and tail-pieces, title page with printer’s device of an orrery. Light age browning, otherwise a good clean copy with C17 annotations, in contemporary English calf, covers triple-ruled in blind, spine remounted, all edges red.

FIRST EDITION of Jonston’s most popular work on “admiranda” or wonders of nature organised into ten categories (heaven, earth, and topics relating to meteors, ‘fossils’ or minerals, plants, birds, quadrupeds, insects and ‘bloodless’ animals, fish, and humans). The work draws heavily from classical sources such as Aristotle, Pliny, and Seneca, but also from the more recent work of Aldrovandi, and in the section on plants includes descriptions of the flora and fauna of the New World, as well as tobacco. Each section is headed by a useful index to its contents, and the work concludes with a poem in praise of Jonston by the Bohemian poet Venceslaus Clemens.

John Jonston (1603 – 1675) emigrated from Poland to Scotland in 1622 and studied natural history at St. Andrew’s for four years. He received the degree of Doctor of Physic from both Leyden and Cambridge. Despite the compact size of Thaumaturgia, his earliest work, its wide range of material prefigures his later, large-scale works on Fish, Insects, Birds, and Trees, made possible by his extensive travel through Europe and access to its libraries, as well as first-hand observation.

Venceslaus Clemens (1589 – 1640?), Protestant and prolific Neo-Latin poet, was forced to leave his native Bohemia after the Battle of White Mountain. His Gustavis, printed the same year as the Thaumatographia, describes the anguish of exile and praises Gustavus Adolphus and the victory of the Swedish Army at the Battle of Breitenfeld, which Clemens credits as saving the Protestant cause in Europe.

Garrison-Morton 287 “A compilation of all the contemporary zoological knowledge”. Wellcome I 3477. Alden II 632/48. Not in Shaaber or Sabin.

L1373

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HEROARD, Jean

PIONEERING ANATOMY OF THE HORSE IN FRENCH


Hippostologie, c’est a dire, discours des os du cheval.

Paris, Mamert Patisson, 1599.

£12,500

FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. (iv), 23, (i). a⁴ A-F⁴. Roman letter, preface in Italic, some Greek. Foliated woodcut initials and headpieces, engraved architectural title page, with royal arms of Henry IV at head, with his Monogram H at sides, horses at base of columns, six large engravings in text, plus one full page of the complete horse skeleton, early manuscript shelf mark on fly. Light age yellowing, very light marginal spotting, the odd mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp clean on thick paper and with good margins, excellent impressions of the plates, in contemporary vellum over thin paste boards, remains of ties.

Extremely rare and important first, and only, edition of this treatise on the anatomy of the horse, beautifully illustrated with seven exceptional engraved plates by J de Weert, some of the finest and most accurate engravings of horse anatomy of the C16th. This work describes the anatomy of the horse in great detail and with great rigor. The engravings are of such detail that it is even possible to make out the joints of the skull, which are abundantly described.

Remarkably it was the first work dealing specifically with horse anatomy published in France; the only other to touch on the subject was the translation into French of Vegetius’ work on horses of 1563, which, whilst dealing with the horse in general, barely touched on its anatomy, not even distinguishing between bovine and equine. Heroard wrote the work in 1579 and the manuscript was preserved in the library of Château de Chantilly, but it was not published until 1599, a year after the publication in Italy of Carlo Runi’s celebrated ‘L’Anatomia del Cavallo’. Heroard was not aware of Runi’s work.

Heroard, a doctor, was given the title of ‘Médecin en l’Art vétérinaire’ in 1574, the first in France, before becoming physician to Charles IX. He most probably owed this role to the passion that Charles IX had for hunting and horses, and the king’s determination to raise the standard of veterinary medicine, particularly in respect to horses. In his dedication to Henry IV, Heroard justifies his project by arguing for the benefits of presenting farriers with a horse anatomy written in French that they would be able to understand. He also implies Charles IX’s instigation who took “un singulier plaisir à ce qui est de l’art Vétérinaire, duquel le subject principal est le corps du Cheval”. It is probable that the work was intended as the forerunner to a much larger treatise on the anatomy of the horse or a full ‘Traite de tout l’art Veterinaire’ that never appeared.

Heroard’s training was in medicine, and wherever applicable he used the language of human anatomy to describe that of the horse. Forced to invent new terms that were specific to the horse, he initiated the vocabulary of equine anatomy in France. The work was overshadowed by Runi’s anatomy and later ignored. However its importance in the history of veterinary science has now been recognized. “L’étude approfondie de l’Hippostologie d’Héroard montre que celui-ci mérite une place de choix dans l’histoire de l’anatomie vétérinaire. Il est le premier à avoir décrit un squelette entier de cheval en se fondant sur l’étude directe sur squelette. Il fut le premier à donner aux os du cheval des noms français raisonnés.” Aurélien Jeandel “Jean Herouard premiere ‘Veterinaire Francais’. A very good copy of this beautifully illustrated and important work.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. 223. Renouard 192:1. Mortimer French 273. Mennessier de la Lance I p. 617. “Ouvrage assez rare”. Brian J Ford. “Images of Science. A History of Scientific Illustration.” p. 78.

L1707

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CRESCENZI, Pietro de

AN INFLUENTIAL MEDIAEVAL TREATISE ON AGRONOMY AND AGRICULTURE


Opera di Agricultura. Ne la quale si contiene a che modo si debbe coltivar la terra, la proprieta’ de tutti e frutti, & herbe; la natura de tutti gli animali.

Venice, Bernardino de Viano de Lexona vercellese, for Melchior Sessa, 1536.

£2,450

8vo. 392 unnumbered ll., A-Z8 2A-2Z8 3A-3B8 +8 (3B8 blank). Roman letter, naturalistic and foliated woodcut initials on five and six lines, some white-on-black smaller, title within beautiful woodcut border, grotesque foliage interlaced with hybrid animals, cat with mouse on upper margin (Sessa’s device), two dragons at base, at A3 verso ‘accipies’ woodcut within floriated and geometrical border, depicting the author teaching students writing; some underlining in contemporary brown ink, text occasionally crossed-out with pencil. Some foxing to edges, mostly on initial and final quires, erased stamp on first two leaves, a good, fresh copy in contemporary vellum, manuscript title in gothic letter on spine, early manuscript notes on turn ins.

Good copy of the Italian translation of the ‘Opus Ruralium Commodum’ by Pietro de’ Crescenzi, one of the most influential mediaeval treatises in agronomy and agriculture. Translated into many languages, the work was widespread in manuscript from the beginning of the 14th century and in printed editions since 1471. The author, born in Bologna around 1233, was trained both in the Dominican schools and Bologna University, gaining extensive knowledge in logic, medicine, natural sciences and law. His career focused on this last field, and after being appointed ‘iudex’ (judge) he received assignments that took him all over Italy for more than thirty years.

During his travels Crescenzi had the chance to visit a great number of rural villas and farms, developing a passion for agronomy and farming. Once retired, he dedicated himself to the project of writing an agronomical treatise in which to convey knowledge and techniques, ancient and modern, theoretical and practical; his efforts gave birth to the ‘Ruralium Commodum’. In his treatise the author often refers to classical and mediaeval authorities, such as Palladio, Varro, Albertus Magnus, Avicenna and the ‘Geoponika’, but he does not hesitate to confute their thesis, adding extensive considerations based upon the practical experience of the many farmers he had known. An interesting aspect of the essay is the public it was conceived for, the 14th century bourgeoisie, especially the class of jurists and notaries who had invested in farms and lands, and needed to obtain a good yield.

The work, divided into twelve books, provides 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. The third book is devoted to fields and their produce, while the fourth, examining in depth the cultivation of vine and the practice of wine-making, constitutes an excellent source for the history of mediaeval enology. Chapters from six to nine analyse trees and fruits, herbs, woods and gardens, at chapter nine starts a dissertation upon animals, husbandry and veterinary, followed by a chapter devoted to hunting and falconry. The practical, original approach of the treatise is demonstrated by the last two chapters, which after summarizing the contents, reorder them according to the monthly and seasonal farming calendar.

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

Sander 2240. BM STC It. 16 C, p. 203. Adams C, 2931. Dizionario biografico degli italiani, vol. 30, Roma, Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana, 1984. Simon Bibl. Bac. p.35 “Traité des plus intéressants sur l’art de cultiver la vigne et de faire le vin… le livre IV est entièrement consacré à la vigne et au vin.” Biting p. 105 (1564 edn) “The fourth book is devoted to the vine and wines.”

L1420

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RONDELET, Guillaume

Libri de Piscibus Marinis

Lyon, apud Matthiam Bonhomme, 1554.

£12,750

FIRST EDITION. Folio. [xvi] 583 [xxv] Roman and Italic letter, historiated woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, t.p. with printer’s device of Perseus with the head of Medusa within architectural border, woodcut portrait of the author on verso of a8, 248 woodcut illustrations of fish and other sea creatures after the designs of Georges Reverdi. Light age yellowing, waterstaining to first and last few gatherings, single wormhole throughout at inner margin of book occasionally just touching text, wormtrail to upper margin of a few gatherings, very neatly restored. Near contemporary ms ex libris autography of “Jo[hann]is Dominici De San[?]y eq[itis] [aur]ati Cas Sti Andrea”, C19 Nordkirchen bookplate of the Dukes of Arenberg on inside cover, remains of ms vellum stubbs. A clean and well margined copy in contemporary calf over thick wooden boards, richly blind-rolled in ornate, deeply cut panels with corner pieces, a central diamond and blind stamp depiction of the three crosses at Golgotha, rolls in a floral motif with unnamed portrait medallions, spine triple-ruled in five compartments with raised bands, each stamped with ornaments, slight tearing at upper and lower joints, defective at head and tail, lacking clasps.

FIRST EDITION of Rondelet’s seminal work on all aquatic animals the most important published up to that time. The first four books are a general discussion about fish with comparative anatomy and specific treatment of anatomical anomalies such as gills, tentacles, stingers, etc. Through an experiment he argues that fish must take in some type of air from the water into their gills: he proves this by keeping a bowl sealed tight which causes the fish inside to suffocate. The rest of the book comprises of around 300 descriptions, the majority illustrated, of marine life, listing the names of each in local languages, its living and feeding habits, anatomical features, and for those fish he could observe and dissect personally, even more information on nutrition, reproduction, and natural habitats. An encyclopedia of sealife would be remiss if it were to by pass a good meal, but luckily Rondelet includes cooking tips and recipes for fish-based meals throughout the entries. For instance, Bream, a small freshwater fish, is good “‘boiled in water and wine as is done in France’, but it is equally good in a variety of other ways. It can be grilled after placing fennel and rosemary in its belly; it can be roasted or served cold; or can even be baked in a crust, [etc.].’ […] Not only has Rondelet given us a series of potential recipes for this fish but he has also revealed some regional culinary preferences.” (Fitzpatrick cit. infr.)

Guillaume Rondelet (1507-1566) studied medicine at Montpellier, but “although he was active in several branches of biology, Rondelet’s reputation effectively depends on his massive compendium on aquatic life, which covered far more species than any earlier work in that field. Despite its theoretical limitation, it laid the foundations for later ichthyological research and was the standard reference work for over a century.[…]In his own day Rondelet was almost as well known as an anatomist as a zoologist. A popular lecturer, Rondelet attracted scholars from all over Europe: Coiter and Bauhin; L’Écluse; L’Obel, who inherited his botanical manuscripts; and Daleschamps. Gesner and Aldrovandi also studied briefly under him.” (DSB cit. infr.)

Adams R-746. Baudrier X 239. DSB XI 527-528. Garrison-Morton 282. Osler 3821. Nissen I 3474. Joan Fitzpatrick, Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare  , 33.

L1220

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