Grida sopra il datio Della Carne, Pesce, & Oglio & dell’Estrattione de gl’Animali.

Modena, Per Giulian Cassiani Stampator Ducale, 1636.


FIRST EDITION. Single sheet, 43 x 32cm. Roman letter. Woodcut arms of Francesco I d’Este as Duke of Modena and Reggio, decorated initial. Uniform light browning, edges uncut, a little dusty, horizontal centre fold. An exceptionally well-preserved copy, ‘80’ pencilled to upper blank margin.

An exceptionally well-preserved (and probably the only surviving) copy of the first edition of this ‘grida’ concerning taxes imposed on meat, fish, oil and their export. The ‘gride’ were ordnances or edicts issued by the authorities, which were then ‘gridate’ (declaimed loudly) by criers in squares to inform citizens. The present was issued to provide partial relief to the ducal coffers after difficult years including the plague of 1630-1, which killed over 40% of Modena’s inhabitants, and the Thirty Years’ War. By September 1636, when the ‘grida’ was issued, Modena had first been prey to winter raids of grain and fodder by the French troops lodged in Parma, and had then participated in the invasion of Parma alongside the Spanish troops. The ‘grida’ sought ‘extraordinary help’ due to the ‘excessive expense caused by the ongoing wars’. It forbad, within the walls of Modena, the killing of ‘oxen, cows, beeves, calves, goats, kids, lambs, sheep, pigs and gelding’ anywhere but in public slaughterhouses, at the price of 4 quattrini a pound to be paid to the taxman. Fines for transgressors included the seizing of the animals, and a payment of 50 or 25 scudi, according to the size of the animal; the ‘snitch’, if there was one, retained anonymity. Exempt was the killing for family use of pigs, kids or lambs, which had not been bought or acquired by exchange, or their killing (by anyone, except butchers) at Easter, from Good Friday to the Resurrection. Any sale or transport of oil as well as live or dead, salted or unsalted fish was subject to 6 quattrini a pound. For everyone the export, from the Duchy to or through foreign states, of the abovementioned animals plus poultry, and derived products, including ‘dead meat’ like salame or sausages, was also banned. Exemption existed for shepherds, though they had to request a license. The ‘grida’ included a list of fines, in Bolognini, for the export of poultry—i.e., peacocks, geese, capons and pigeons. It was printed by the ‘stampatore ducale’ Giuliano Cassiani. An esteemed printer of literary and legal works, as ‘stampatore ducale’ he ‘monopolised the printing of all government acts, including grida and bandi’; he also printed the first Modenese newspaper, ‘Avvisi’, first published in 1648 (Pugno, ‘Trattato’, 90).

No recorded copies in major institutional catalogues or bibliographies.

Saggio di una bibliografia di Modena, p.269. Not in EDIT16, USTC, Simon, Oberlé, Bitting or Vicaire. G.M. Pugno, Trattato di cultura generale nel campo della stampa (1968).


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Prophéties perpetuelles depuis 1521 jusquà la fin du monde.

Manuscript, on paper, France, 1680 [but early 1700s].


Small 4to. 75 unnumbered ll. French MS, in black ink, ronde hand, approx. 15 lines per page, Garden of Holland Pro Patria watermark, initials with pen flourishing. T-p minimally toned, remargined at foot, slight yellowing. An excellent copy, on thick high-quality paper, in c.1700 mottled calf, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, a.e.g., two worm holes to upper joint and label, spine a little rubbed with small loss at head and foot, corners a bit bumped, upper hinge starting. C18 ms. shelfmark ‘n.1644 F. Tab. 1er D. Tab. 4’, C19 c.1800 printed ownership stamp ‘Huzard de l’Institut’ to t-p, C18 ms. ‘ad libitum’ and ‘a eté vendu 10 a linventaire de Mr Delajonchère’ to rear fep.

An excellent ms., on thick high-quality paper, of this fascinating work—a meteorological perpetual calendar from 1521 to the end of the world, and an agricultural almanac, with numerous observations on wine. It was prepared in 1680 by the Académie des Sciences for François-Michel Le Tellier (1641-91), Marquis de Louvois, Secretary of War under Louis XIV. In the preliminaries, the work is attributed to the mysterious Neapolitan philosopher Joseph le Juste, frequently listed, in C18 French prophetic collections, alongside Pythagoras and Nostradamus. ‘The figure of Joseph Le Juste was already present in prophetic literature and almanacs. […] the biblical Joseph, who interpreted dreams, who had received a revelation from an angel concerning the prediction of good and bad days’ (Halbron, ‘Vaticinations’, 2014). The Académie had allegedly collected the prophecies which had passed their tests, hence were deemed ‘infallible and truthful’—a witty fiction (‘Journal de

Paris’, 1807, 445). After a brief introduction on seasonal time, the work provides a meteorological perpetual calendar, in 28-year cycles, suggesting best practices in agriculture, fishing and cloth manufacture in relation to the weather. Great attention is paid to wine-making, with St Jean, Rochelle, Soitou, Auxerre and Champagne being the most profitable, resistant and tasty wines, and to the wine trade, with observations on the fluctuations of prices according to the quality of the harvest, the supply of specific wines and the effect of the surrounding economic situation on good or bad harvests. Fodder, rye, grain, cattle and wool are also discussed, with suggestions on how to avoid losing money by foreseeing demand and supply thanks to the almanac. Louvois himself owned numerous estates, with complex gardens and water pipes.

A contemporary reviewer of the 1807 printed edition doubted whether the Académie ever offered the ms. to Louvois. In fact, the only recorded institutional copy in the US may even be the presentation copy, with Louvois’s illuminated coat of arms on the t-p, now at UC Davis. The few others recorded (e.g., Cochran, ‘Catalogue’, 1837, n.237; Uni Strasbourg, Ms.0.556) were copied from this, probably upon request of members of the Académie. The watermark of this copy dates it probably to the early C18 (Churchill, ‘Watermarks’, n.130), like the Strasbourg copy. A ms. note suggests that it was sold from the inventory of M. De la Jonchère, arguably M. Lescuyer de la Jonchère, academician, topographer and hydrographer in the 1710s (‘Le journal des sçavans’, 192; ‘Histoire De L’Academie’, 555). It was later in the library of Jean-Baptiste Huzard (1755-1838), a French veterinary doctor, himself a member of the Académie and later the Institut. His large library comprised over 40,000 volumes, many on natural science; the present was lot 5507 in the catalogue ‘Bibliothèque Huzard’ (Part I) (1843).

Only UC Davis copy recorded in the US.


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[Cambio de Víñas en Morales.]

Manuscript on paper, Zamora (Spain), 1455.


4to. 8 unnumbered ll., second blank. First fol. in C17 cursive, 21 lines per full page, fols 3-7 in C15 escritura cortesana, c.28 lines per full page, pen flourishings in brown at margins and end, with notarial signatures. First three ll. slightly foxed, small tear at outer edge along nearly invisible centre fold, within a small marginal water stain, stitched. C17 ‘1455’, ‘Hueco y Cambeo mai Pos[nes]’ and ‘Hueco de unas viñas’, and C15 docket to verso of last blank.

Remarkably well-preserved, ephemeral deed granting the use of a vineyard in Morales, near Zamora. This area, with the province of Salamanca, in north-western Spain, was part of the Tierra del Vino—later a controlled designation of origin. The document includes a ‘carta de troque, cambio y permutación’ (for exchange and permutation) and a ‘carta de juramento’ (oath), both in the name of Bachiller Alvar Rodrigues of Sant Ysidro, son of Dr Juan Rodrigues of Sant Ysidro, resident in Zamora—a member of the Council of King Ferdinand and magistrate at the Real Chancillería in Valladolid (Dominguez, ‘Nobleza’, 485). A ‘carta de troque’ stated the reciprocal transfer of items of the same kind between two parties—here between Rodrigues, and Alfonso Estevan and his wife Cathalina Fernandes of nearby Morales—in this case, also a ‘permutación’, without the need for money exchange (‘Discursos juridicos’, 45-8). Rodrigues gave a vineyard he owned within the boundaries of Morales and Almantaya, between the vineyards of Juan de Morales and Juan Estevan, in exchange for two, the borders of which were the vineyards of the Bachiller himself, that formerly of Diego de Zamora, and another. The rest explains, for both sides, the conditions of the exchange, including specified fines for non-compliance equalling the value of the vineyards, the degree of ownership and their responsibility concerning the management of the vineyard, e.g., tax payment to the king, prince and lords. The ‘carta de juramento’ reinforced the first document with an official oath.

E. Fernández Prieto Dominguez, Nobleza de Zamora (1953); J.M. Dominguez Vicente, Discursos juridicos (Madrid, 1731).


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BACCI, Andrea.


De naturali vinorum historia, de vinis Italiae et de Conuiuiis Antiquorum.

Rome, ex officina Nicholai Mutij, 1596.


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. (xxviii) 370 (ii). Roman letter, occasional Italic. Engraved architectural t-p with female allegorical figures and arms of the Colonna above, emblems of the Arts and Sciences, and author’s portrait. Full-page engraving of ‘Thermopolium Romanum’ to Aa 1 , decorated initials and ornaments. Small ink burn to crossed-out inscription on t-p, light water stain at head of t-p and upper margin of few gatherings, spotted browning (poorly dried) in places, small hole to outer blank margin of G 3 , Y 3 strengthened at gutter. A good copy in early C19 vellum, marbled endpapers, raised bands, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco labels, a.e.r. Bookplate of Pietro and Michele Del Vecchio to front pastedown, C19 bibliographical inscription to verso of ffep, contemporary ‘Ex Musaeo et libris Nicolai Aloysij Rigatij Med. i Ariminen sis ’ to t-p.

A good, well-margined copy of the first edition of this fascinating history of wine—‘of great rarity; […] one of the most important treatises published on the wines of France, Spain and all European countries’ (Vicaire 60-1). The Italian Andrea Bacci (1524-1600) was physician to Pope Sixtus V, professor of botany at Rome, and author of works on natural science (including a study of elks) and medicine (on medicaments, poisons and antidotes). ‘De naturali vinorum historia’ opens with a dedication to Cardinal Ascanio Colonna and Clement VIII’s printing privilege granted to Bacci. The first section provides a cultural and medical history of wine, spanning ancient drinking habits, religious uses, Galen’s and Dioscorides’s opinions, preservation, vinegar and aquavite. The second discusses the natural properties of wine according to age, smell, flavour, as well as wine-making and cultivation; it includes descriptions of specific wines (e.g., Formianum, Tiburtinum, sweet, from vitis Labrusca). The third analyses the medical uses of wine to treat fever, conditions of the stomach, chest, kidneys and bladder, the causes of drunkenness, and its effects on melancholic people. The fourth begins with a history of ancient banquets (convivia), their organisation, implements and food served, followed by a section focusing on the kinds of wine served, ways of toasting and serving, and at what temperature. Here Bacci contributed to debates on the physiological effects of cold beverages, which had become fashionable in the C16. He described the use of the Roman ‘thermopolium’, handsomely illustrated—a public place where hot and cold beverages, sweet as well as alcoholic, could be purchased. The work concludes with references to wine in ancient poetry, including Virgil and Homer. The C17 owner of this copy was Nicolai Aloysius Rigatius (Nicola Luigi Rigato or Rigati), physician in Rimini. He was member of the local Accademia degli Adagiati, established in 1627, and participated in their poetic florilegium ‘Virtutis trophaea’ (1659). The phrase ‘ex musaeo et libris’ suggests he also collected artefacts or natural specimens.

Only Yale copy recorded in the US.
EDIT16 CNCE 3836; Brunet I, 599: ‘ouvrage rare et recherché’; Simon, Bib. Bacchica, 68: ‘Traité agréablement écrit et bien présenté’; Vicaire 60-1; Wellcome 607. Not in Oberlé or Durling.


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PLATT, Sir Hugh

The Jewell House of Art and Nature.

London, Printed by Peter Short, 1594.


FIRST EDITION sm. 4to., 3 parts in 1. pp. (xvi) 96, 60, 76. Roman and italic letter, First title within decorative woodcut border, ladies in Elizabethan dress at sides, skeleton beneath (McKerrow and Ferguson 160), two woodcut sub-titles incorporating the royal arms (McKerrow and Ferguson 182), full-page arms of Earl of Essex on verso of t-p (fractionally trimmed at fore-edge), woodcut illustrations of furnaces, agricultural machinery, pumps, presses, devices for distillation and machines of his own invention in text, large historiated woodcut initials, typographical head and tail pieces, C19th autograph on fly, stamp of the ‘Lawes Agricultural Trust’ on pastedown. Light age yellowing, t-p and verso of last fractionally dusty, some minor marginal spotting, the odd mark, small tear at lower blank margin of last two leaves. A good copy in slightly later polished sheep, covers bordered with double blind rule, rebacked, corners restored.

Rare first edition, charmingly illustrated, of this curious and fascinating ‘Book of Secrets’ dedicated to the Earl of Essex, containing an enormous diversity of practical advice on many subjects, a valuable contribution to the art of husbandry, with much material on domestic matters, including preserving fruit, distilling, cookery and cosmetics, by Sir Hugh Platt “the most ingenious husbandman of the age he lived in.” Harte. The work is a compendium of inventions and discoveries ranging from the easier writing of the ABC, to keeping oysters good for ten to twelve days, to “a pistol of two foot in length, to deliver a bullet point blanke at eight skore”. Separate sections are devoted to the improvement of soil and manure, to better distillation, and to the art of gilding, while the final part has commercial hopes, being “an offer of certeine new inuentions, which the Author will bee ready to disclose uppon reasonable considerations, to such as shall be willing to entertain them, or to procure some priviledge for them”.

“The first part lists 103 experiments, ranging from the practical to the fantastic. These include recipes for preserving fruit, flowers, meat, and water, and for a tooth-cleaner; a cheap way to erect a small bridge without the need to place supports in the water; a chafing dish to keep food warm without coals; how to keep garments free from moths; how to dispose of wasps and rats; a cement for mending glasses; and how to know what cards your opponent is holding. The second part deals with soils and manures, the third with distillations, the fourth with moulding and casting metals, and the fifth, entitled ‘An offer of certain new inventions which the author proposes to disclose upon reasonable considerations’, covers a diversity of topics such as the brewing of beer without hops, the preservation of food in hot weather and at sea, mnemonics, and fishing.” ODNB. The second and most focused part of the work, which was reprinted shortly after this first edition in a separate pamphlet, concerns the treatment of soil and fertilizers. “Almost all the theory contained in the work is derived from Continental writers: some material is quoted from Franciscus Valetius’ ‘de sacra Philosophia’, but Plat relies most heavily on the works of Bernard Palissy, a French potter. At the outset, Plat mentions Palissy’s ‘Discours admirables de la nature des eaux et fontaines’ and proceeds to translate almost the whole of his ‘des sels diverses’ followed by more selective extracts from ‘de la Marn.’ Plat quotes with acknowledgement (and apparently with approval), telling us when he does not agree with the original author….. throughout his publishing career Plat put forward ideas to improve military food and drink. The Jewell House of Art and Nature of 1594 contains detailed suggestions on keeping meat in brine and how to preserve water fresh at sea, as well as introducing his ‘New Invention’ of pasta as a victual for the navy.” Malcolm Thick, ‘Sir Hugh Plat, the Search for Useful Knowledge in Early Modern London.’ The work is of particular interest for its detailed recipes on food and drink, wines, spirits and distillations, and is also of tremendous social interest giving much insight into the preoccupation’s of Elizabethan household’s. A good copy of this very rare and fascinating work.

ESTC S110434. STC 19991. Lowndes V 1879. Duveen 476 (1653 edition). Bitting 373 (1653 edition). Fussell p.15. Ferguson II 49. Westwood & Satchell 171. Luborsky & Ingram. Engl. illustrated books, 1536-1603, 19991. Not in Vicaire, Oberle or Simon.


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MARKHAM, Gervase

A Way To Get Wealth: Containing sixe Principall Vocations or Callings, in which every good Husband or House-wife may lawfully imploy themselves… 

London : Printed by E[dward] G[riffin] for John Harison, 1638


4to.six vols in one. pp. [xxviii], 132, 135-188, [ii] [last blank]; [viii], 118, [ii] [without last blank]; [xii], 252 [first blank]; [iv], 24 [bound out of order, quires A and B inverted}; [xii], 32, 23-158; [viii], 133, [i]. “A reissue, with added general title page, of “Cheape and good husbandry”, 6th ed., 1631; “Country contentments”, 5th ed., 1633; “The English house-wife”, 5th ed., 1637; “The inrichment of the weald of Kent .. revised, inlarged, and corrected”, 1636; “Markhams farewell to husbandry”, 4th ed., 1638; all by or edited by Gervaise Markham and “A new orchard and garden”, 3rd ed., 1638, by William Lawson.” ESTC. Roman Letter, some Italic. woodcut illustrations, woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments. Contemporary manuscript inscription to front endpaper “Mr. William Priore of the ..of Hereford Meer is the true owner of this book parchased him 7/8′, May 26 1641” autograph repeated directly below, another on verso: “Mr. William Priore is my nam if you me find Restor this sam…, 1646”, bookplate of the Bibliothecca Piscatoria Lynniana on pastedown, Bibliotheca Tiliana below, their discreet inkstamp to verso of title for Cheape and Good Husbandry. Light age yellowing, general title with a few spots, larger at end of ‘Country contentments’, on a few leaves of ‘the English House-wife’, and last four leaves, occasional mark or minor stains to blank margins, the odd thumb mark. Generally a very good and unsophisticated copy, crisp and clean in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine double blind ruled in compartments, restored at head and tail, a little rubbed, a.e.r.

An excellent and rare sammelband of some of Markhams most important works with an edition of Lawson’s ‘A new orchard and garden’ reissued here with an additional general title page by John Harrison, probably to sell unsold copies. It forms an important collection of Markham’s best works on husbandry in the most complete editions. Markham’s Farewell to Husbandry is an important and innovative agricultural work on the preparation and improvement of soils and on arable farming generally. The work also deals with the preservation of grains and pulses, including a section on the best grain to take to sea (which he concludes is rice). It also contains two chapters at the end on the husbandry of cattle for ploughing. “In the pamphlet, ’The inrichment of the weald of Kent’ of 1625, the Author advocated a systematic program for improving the productivity of the ‘unapt’ soils of the region. It was to be based on the regular spreading of Marl (which was commonly found in the Weald) to enrich the ground, and, equally important, the introduction of ley farming to the enclosed fields which have previously been used for either pasture or arable.”Michael Zell ‘Industry in the Countryside: Wealden Society in the Sixteenth Century’

The English housewife contains a huge variety of detailed recipes and information, the majority concerning the preparation of food and drink, with smaller sections on medicine, household remedies and weaving. Markham starts with a brief description of the ideal temperament of a housewife, before moving on to household remedies “for the curing of those ordinary sickenesses which daily perturb the health of men and Women”. Apart from the usual (C16th) remedies there are many concerning childbirth, and cosmetics, with a very interesting section at the end on how to make various oils, such as oil of lavender and camomile, for such things as “to make smooth hands”. The next and most substantial chapter in on cookery, starting with a description of how to maintain a garden to supply the kitchen. Many of the recipes are for classics of English cookery such as rice and bread pudding, trifle, custards, ‘Gammon of bacon pie’, apple tart, and ‘marmalad’ among many others. The work then moves on to distillation and the making of many “aqua-vitae” and various “waters”, and concludes with a section on the making of perfumes. Then comes a short chapter on the keeping and preserving of wine, including a description of ‘Burdeaux’ and ‘Renish’ wines, and how to choose them and ‘remedy’ them. A short chapter on weaving and dying of wool is followed by chapters on dairy work and the making of a whole variety of cheeses and butter, the making of Malt and bread making and finishes with how to brew beer, ales, cider and perry.

The final work is the beautifully illustrated work on gardening, the only published work of William Lawson, all early editions of which are now rare. “A man of some learning, he evidently read widely on agriculture and gardening, and his two works are also scattered with references to the classics. When he died he willed ‘all my latine books & mie English books of contraversie’ to his son William, which suggests that he may well have owned a relatively substantial library of books for the period.” Julie Gardham – Glasgow University Library Special collections. Within a small compass he provides sound instruction for ‘planting, grafting as to make any ground good, for a rich Orchard’ particularly in the north. The section entitled ‘the County Houswife’s Garden’ is valuable for its attention to the essential role of women in the rural household, as cooks, nurturers of fine flowers and keepers of the herbal medicine cupboard. Also appended, is Simon Harwood’s short treatise on the art of propagating plants and another, which may be by Lawson or Harwood, on how to increase the yield from a wide selection of fruits. A simple practical work written with much charm by an obvious enthusiast and still eminently readable

“Many books on agriculture and gardening were published during the century, but from the historical point of view the most important are those of Markham, because they appeared at an early stage in the new development, were widely read, and full of useful information and sound advice. … His most important work was ‘Markhams farewell to husbandry.’ It dealt fully and expertly not only with ploughing, sowing and harvesting, but with methods such as sanding, lining, marling and manuring, by which fertility of land could be increased.” Anne Wilbraham ‘The Englishman’s Food: Five Centuries of English Diet’.

ESTC S112152; Kress 688; STC 17397. Hull ‘Chaste, silent and Obedient’ pp. 185-6  “The English housewife”.


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[F., N.]

The husbandmans fruitfull orchard. Shewing diuers rare new secrets for the true ordering of all sortes of fruite in their due seasons. ..

London : Imprinted [by R. Bradock] for Roger Iackson, 1608.


4to. pp. [iv], 28. Black letter, some Roman and Italic. Historiated woodcut initials, woodcut headpieces, Cornelius J. Hauck’s bookplate on pastedown, bibliographical note (concerning the rarity of this edition) tipped on fly. Title-page and last leaf a little soiled and damp stained, headline fractionally shaved in the Epistle to the Reader, light age yellowing, the occasional mark or spot. A good copy in modern half calf over marbled paper boards.

The exceptionally rare 1608 reissue of ‘The Fruiterers Secrets’ first published in 1604, located by ESTC in one other copy only, at the British Library, with the dedication cancelled and with a cancel title-page. This copy has the title-page corrected to read “rare” for “care” (this is uncorrected in some copies, see STC). The work is a wonderfully written and most practical handbook on the gathering, picking, sorting and storing of various fruits, including cherries, apples, pears and quinces, and by extension the work also gives a most interesting insight into the flourishing fruit trade that took place in late Elizabethan England, particularly around London. The author, the unidentified ’N.F.’, gives an interesting account in his preface of the importation of grafts brought from France and the Netherlands, that helped to develop English fruit trees (“especially pippins; before which time there was no right pippins in England”) by Richard Harris, who was fruiterer to Henry VIII. Harris created a fruit orchard at Tenham in Kent on the King’s ground using these foreign grafts. The author describes this orchard as “the chiefe Mother of all other orchards for those kindes of fruites in Kent, and of divers other places. And afore that these said grafts were fetched out of Fraunce, and the Lowe Countries, although there was some store of fruite in England, yet there wanted both rare fruite, and lasting fine fruit.”

The work deals in turn with cherries, (“foure sorts here in England – flemish cherries, English cherries, Gascoyne cherries and blacke cherries.”), all other stone fruit (apricots peaches, plums damsons etc), pears, apples, wardens, and quinces. The author was clearly a ‘fruiterer’ in that he gives detailed instructions as to the various methods of storing each fruit, and how to transport fruit by waterways. Most of the work concerns picking and storing but it also gives advice on the growing of fruit trees, particularly the placement of trees and the soil in which certain trees will produce better fruit. His principal concern however was that once “the great paines that have been taken, in planting, setting, grafting, & proyning, whereby a great deal of ground hath been taken up, which might serve for other good purposes, I thought good to shew what course might bee taken, that means Labours be not lost, nor such great quantity of ground wherin fruit doth growe, lye in waste (as it were) and become unprofitable, through ignorance of well handling the fruite, after God hath given it.”

An exceptionally rare edition of this very charming work.

ESTC S119936. (one copy only). STC 10651. Not in Lowndes.


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Lo scalco prattico.

Rome, Francesco Corbelletti, 1627.


FIRST EDITION. 4to., pp. (8), 300. Roman letter, a little Italic; dedicatee’s arms engraved on title, decorated initials, typographical head- and tail-pieces; lightly foxed, some leaves aged browned, tiny marginal wormholes at foot of gathering P and Q, old repairs to blank lower outer corner of title. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, original endpapers; a little stained and rubbed, two small cracks to spine; reader’s or bookseller’s annotation by nearly contemporary Italian hand ‘È da vedere’ (‘To be read/collated’).

Rare first edition of a masterpiece of Italian cuisine in early modern times. Born in Camerino, Vittorio Lancellotti was a respected butler in the service of Cardinal Ippolito Aldobrandini, nephew of Pope Clement VIII and dedicatee of this book, and other high-ranking prelates of the Roman Curia, including Ippolito’s uncle Pietro Aldobrandini and Cardinal Scipione Borghese. In the Scalco prattico, Lancellotti described the numerous lavish banquets he supervised at either family or state occasions, with detailed recipes and reports of the service. These celebratory meals usually consist of no less than six round of multiple courses, with cold and hot fresh dishes (including ‘Pasticci all’Inglese’) and stored sweets and savouries.

The book is divided monthly, dispensing advice for seasonal culinary preparations. Particularly rich and impressive was the party organised in 1622 for the wedding of Prince Aldobrandini and Ippolita Ludovisi, niece of the reigning pope Gregory XIV. After a never-ending first round of dishes (out of twelve), the couple was presented with a magnificent statue of marzipan representing Atlas shouldering the Earth with their coat of arms nestled in it.

‘Ce livre fait connaitre le luxe culinaire des prèlats romains au commencement du XVII siècle …’ Brunet, III, 808.

‘Il più originale trattato di scalcheria tra quelli dei numerosi scalchi che in questo secolo operano presso le corti cardinalizie romane.’ C. Benporat, Storia della gastronomia italiana, Milan 1990, p. 195.

Very rare. No recorded copies in the US.

Not in Bitting. BM STC It. 17th, 465; Nataker, 912; Oberlé, 530; Paleari Henssler, 412; Simon, 941; Vicaire, 490-491; Westbury, 127; Drexel, 236.


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LEMNIUS, Levin (translated by J. Gohory)

Les Occultes Merveilles et Secretz de Nature, avec plusieurs enseignemens des choses divers.

Paris, Gailiot du Pré, 1574.


8vo., ff. (i) 212 (xx). Roman letter, side notes and quotations in Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title, contemporary autograph “Grisson” beneath. Woodcut initials and decorations. Occasional contemporary marginal annotations. Light paper yellowing. Very good copy in contemporary vellum, 19C book plates on paste down.

Lemnius (1505-1568) studied medicine at Louvain under Dodoens, Gessner, and Vesalius and practised for over forty years in his home town of Zelande with great success. This work, translated by Jacques Gohory, was designed as much for the amusement of the reader as for his education, and contains a mass of information, partly real, partly fantastic, taken from ancient Greek, Hebrew, Arab, and Latin sources, and presented and commented on in rather haphazard fashion. “Bits of medical and natural lore are thrown together hit-or-miss,” but not without importance “since it was often cited by subsequent learned authors, and since the numerous editions and translations of it show that it was well suited to the tastes of the time.” (Thorndike).

Despite his interest in the occult and belief in the importance of the influence that the stars and moon exert on the person, Lemnius remained pragmatic, always insisting on the importance of treating the patient with what remedies were available rather than relying on astronomy. Of the many diverse and interesting subjects the book deals with, such as the effects of human saliva, or whether it is better to sleep with one’s mouth open or closed, one most referred to is the subject of vines, wine and drunks. White wine should be drunk before red, vinegar is useful in times of plague, the wines of the Poitou make you quarrelsome whereas the wines of the Rhine make you amorous, and when inebriated, you must not sleep in the moon rays. Translations of books dealing with the occult sciences are rare (an English translation of this work did not appear until 1650).

BM STC Fr. 16C p.262. Brunet III 972. Graesse IV 159. Not in Adams. French edition not in Cantamessa. Not in Honeyman. Thorndike V 393/4. Simon II 403.


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PLATT, Sir Hugh


Delightes for ladies, to adorne their persons, tables, closets, and distillatories;

London, Printed by H. L[ownes] and R. Y[oung] and are to bee sold by Iames Boler, 1628


12mo. 96 unnumbered leaves. A-H12, (last blank but for border). Roman letter, titles in Italic. Text within decorative four part woodcut borders, typographical ornaments. Light age yellowing, borders on outer margin very fractionally trimmed on a few leaves. A good copy, unusually crisp and clean, in antique-style red morocco, covers bordered with single gilt rule, spine with gilt raised bands, vase tools gilt at centers, green morocco label gilt, combed marble end-papers, all edges gilt.

A very good copy of this very charming, exceptionally rare and important book of recipes of sweets, candies, preserves, (sweet and savory), alcoholic beverages, perfumes, cosmetics and personal decoration, a most successful book in its day; some of the recipes have survived to be in relatively common use 400 years later, in particular the various mixed alcoholic beverages. “Sir Hugh Platt wrote perhaps the most charming and well-written sweets recipe book of all, dedicated to the ladies of leisure who were his target readership. The art of preserving and candying fruit had by this time become a ladylike diversion as well as a professional business — due to the high price of imported sugar, sweets were still an expensive luxury enjoyed only by a few. Among Sir Hugh’s recipes is a way of candying rose petals on the bush by pouring syrup over them and letting them dry in the sun. His dedicatory poem,… is a useful inventory of sweets in favour in the 16th and early 17th century, including sucket (candied lemon and orange peel) and marchpanes: a type of hard marzipan modelled into diverse shapes for the table, and not always edible.” British library.

‘Delightes for Ladies’ was one of several works which Plat published in the genre of how-to books, or books of secrets. It was one of the earliest, if not the first, cookery and household recipe book. Plat divides the work into three parts “the arte of preseruing”, “secrets in distillation” and “cookerie and huswiferie”. His interest in the subject was in part derived from his interest in preserving food for the navy and dwells at some length on keeping meat in brine at sea and includes a recipe for keeping orange & lemon juice for a year. The second section on Distillation starts with a recipe called “How to make true spirit of wine.”. Most of the rest of the recipes in this section, though, are how to make things like rose-water, or how to distill thyme lavender and rosemary for perfumes or ‘waters’. The book also is partly derived from the tradition of ‘Books of Secrets’ and contains recipes such as “to take away the freckles in the face: Wash your face in the wane of the moone with a spunge, morninge and euening with the distilled water of Elder Leaues, letting the same drie into the skinne. Your water must be distilled in Maie. This is of a Trauailer, who hath cured himself therby.”. Read and used to pieces this work has survived in very few copies and is very rare.“The reader is left in no sort of doubt about what went on in the Elizabethan kitchen, and few could put the book down without some regret for the passing of those most leisurely days. … It is not surprising that some of these have survived in single copies only, and some have probably disappeared altogether … Most surviving copies are pretty grubby and often incomplete.” Bent Juel-Jensen, ‘Some Uncollected Authors XIX, The Book Collector”.

STC 19983.7 (Recording only 3 other copies B.L., Lincoln Cathedral and Folger). Bitting 373. Vicaire under ‘Closet’ 183. “One of the early practical guides to include beauty hints and cosmetic recipes” Hull, ‘Chaste, Silent and Obedient.’ pp. 43, 194. Ferguson V p. 43. Cagle 930. Not in Oberle.


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