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

Paris, Mamert Patisson, 1599.


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.


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CRESCENZI, Pietro de


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.


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.”


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La caccia di Giacomo di Foglioso scudiero e signore di esso luogo, paese di Gastina in Poitu. Con molte ricette, & rimedij per risanare i cani da diuerse malattie.

Milan, Appresso Antonio Comi, 1615.


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. (viii), 338, (vi). Italic letter. Woodcut printer’s device on title incorporating the arms of the dedicatee, small floriated woodcut initials, typographical tailpieces and ornaments, forty charming page woodcuts in text repeated from nine blocks, paper flaw in F8, light browning in places (poor quality paper), occasional marginal spotting, light water-staining on a few leaves. A good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, red morocco label on spine, all edges blue.

Excellent, charmingly illustrated, first and only edition of Cesare Parona’s translation into Italian of Du Fouilloux’s famous and seminal text on hunting, and the first and only early edition in Italian, illustrated with forty charming and vigorously drawn woodcuts that often use blocks of black to great effect. The work is translated from the Paris edition of 1606 and is dedicated to Ercole Visconti. Du Fouilloux (1521-1580) was a very keen, knowledgeable and experienced hunter and his work created a considerable stir amongst the many enthusiastic hunters of the C16; it was the earliest scientific treatment of the subject in modern times and undoubtedly one of the best.

The work deals on hunting in general and particularly that of the deer, hare, wild boar and wolf. It also deals with the management of the hunt and hounds, hound welfare and ailments, training, breeding and types and the habits of all their various quarries. The last chapter deals specifically with the welfare of dogs and gives twenty seven ‘recipes’ for curing ailments ranging from rabies to snake bite. It swiftly became a standard work and editions in various languages were still being published into the mid 19th century.

BM STC It. C17 p. 312. Schwerdt I, p. 154 ‘The only Italian edition’. Souhart 158. Thiébaud 314. Jeanson 197.


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