DODOENS, Rembert

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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