MARKHAM, Gervase


Hungers preuention: or, The whole arte of fovvling by vvater and land… Also, exceeding necessary and profitable for all such as trauell by sea, and come into vninhabited places: especially, all those that haue any thing to doe with new plantations.

London, A[ugustine] Math[ewes] for Anne Helme and Thomas Langley, 1621


FIRST EDITION. 8vo. [xvi], 285, [iii]. (woodcuts). Signatures: A-T⁸. Roman letter, some Italic. Title within single rule border, [shaved in lower margin] full page woodcut of bird traps as frontispiece, many full page and text woodcuts, woodcut initials and head-pieces, typographical ornaments, bookplate of the Fox Pointe library on paste-down. Age yellowing, light waterstain to first third of work, occasional marginal thumb mark or spot, blank recto of frontispiece dusty. A very good copy in handsome C19th calf, covers bordered with a gilt scrolled rule, diced in blind, spine with gilt ruled raised bands green morocco label gilt lettered, edges gilt ruled, a.e.g. 

First edition of this very rare practical work, on hunting and falconry, by Gervase Markham, profusely illustrated with charming woodcuts; it is the earliest English treatise wholly concerned with bird-catching, and an important seventeenth-century work of Falconry. Apart from his ‘Countrey Contentments’ (1615), this was Markham’s only book solely devoted to country sports. Dealing with every aspect of fowling, it was entirely original and intended to benefit, not only those at home, but colonists in ‘the blessed plantation of Virginia’. In this work Markham discusses the use of decoys and shows plans for very elaborate waterfowl traps, he also writes about hunting dogs and falconry, including descriptions of the use of the various accoutrements required; nets, springs, dogs and guns amongst many others. Chapter twelve is entirely devoted to Hawking of all kinds, including two very charming woodcuts of a Haggard Falcon and a Goshawk. His work was intended for use in the British Isles but is most interesting, as a work devoted to self-sufficiency, for being addressed to those going to the newly established colonies in the Americas.

“Gervase Markham, a prolific author who specialised in books on husbandry, gardening, horsemanship and housewife-skills, offers an extremely detailed account of the art of fowling in the delightfully titled ‘Hungers preuention: or, The whole arte of fovvling by vvater and land.’ Markham dedicates the book to the Virginia Company, and offers it to the readers as both a practical guide to the various methods of fowling and a salutary example of self-sufficiency. Markhams detailed practical guide not only details ways to catch birds of all kinds, but he so empathises with his prey that he is able to offer a vivid picture of the birds he discusses and their societies, noting, for example, how water fowl are ‘the subtillest and wisest of birds’ with a social system rather like a human camp complete with soldiers and scouts. Similar imaginative identification lies behind his instructions on how to train a dog to fetch game birds. Markham also possesses  a charming didactic style, which always has in mind ‘the industrious and diligent reader’ who is made to feel wholly competent by the time the book ends.” P. Salzman.’Literary Culture in Jacobean England: Reading 1621’

Markham (?1568-1637), who at one time served in the army, was a prolific writer on hunting, hawking, husbandry, gardening, housewifery and the military arts but also produced works of drama and poetry. This is one of the earliest comprehensive works in English on hunting and falconry and long remained a standard  and most influential work. It must have been of particular value in the harsh conditions of the early American Colonies. 

ESTC S112097. STC (2nd ed.), 17362. Schwerdt II, p.12. “The first edition, scarce.” Poynter 25.1. Alden II 621/64. Includes ref. to Virginia the glorious state of example in the South. Not in Sabin. 


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A treatise of the lavves of the forest.

London,  Printed [by Adam Islip?] for the Societie of Stationers,  Anno Dom. 1615.


4to in eights. ff. [xvi], 258 [i.e. 259], [i]. [[par.]⁸, *⁸, A-2I⁸, 2K⁴.] First and last leaf blank. Black letter, with some Roman and Italic. Woodcut floriated initials, typographical headpieces, autograph of “Anthony Haselwood” 1709, on fly, ‘Arthur Brooke’ 1832 at head of t-p, another, rubbed, next to it, armorial bookplate of William Allen Potter on fly, ‘Rosenthal Oxford 10/4/45’ above. Light waterstain in lower margin of first part of work, very light in upper margin towards end, occasional marginal soiling, rare mark or spot, end-leaves a little dusty. A very good copy, crisp and clean, with excellent margins in contemporary limp vellum, recased, eps. renewed.

Third edition, enlarged, of ‘the earliest treatise of English Forest Laws, and invaluable to students and lovers of ancient sport’ (Schwerdt). Apart from its legal content it is one of the most informative works we possess on hunting and hawking as practised in Elizabethan England. The work begins with definitions of “Forest”, “Chase”, “Parke” and “Warren”. Chapter 2 is on the royal perogative and chapter 4 discusses the beasts of venery and the chase. Chapters 7-14 are on legal matters such as ‘meeres and bounds’, ‘wast’ (cutting down the trees), ‘assarts’ (removal of trees to create arable land), ‘purpersture’ (building of houses withing the forest,) ‘agistment’ (feeding of swine within the forest) and ‘pawnage’ (money due to be paid for ‘assignment’) Other chapters are devoted to “Of keeping of Dogges within a forrest”, hawking and hunting, trespassers, and also a discussion of the ‘purlieu’ or pourallee, (or ‘purallee’ as it appears on the title page), that is the ground adjoining the forest. The laws governing the forests and the pourallees differed greatly: ‘Men may not fell nor cut downe their woodes within the Regard of the Forest, without licence of the King, nor otherwise improve their landes, nor, no man may in any sort hunt, chase or disquiet, the wilde beasts of the forest without some warrant or aucthoritie derived from the King; But those, that have woods and lands within the Pourallees, they are without the regard of the forest and therefore they are absolutely free from the bondage of the forest, in respect of felling of their woods, and converting of their meadowes and pastures into arable land and tillage’. The work includes lengthy extracts from charters and ancient records.

“Even John Manwood’s treatise on forest laws, composed in 1592, was a work of nostalgia. The royal forests were by that time in a state of degradation, infractions all too often going unpunished. Manwood hoped that by defining its origin and purpose reinvigorate old corpus of laws which had once preserved the forests integrity, if not sanctity. .. John Manwood .. laid out in systematic fashion the ancient laws pertaining to the afforestation and preservation of the wilderness. He admitted that a few of the ancient laws were still being enforced, and he lamented the widespread laxity regarding their enforcement. One could say that Manwood undertook to defend those laws not so much because he was a monarchist but because he was a naturalist. Only the Monarch, he thought could save the wilderness from the ravages of human exploitation. .. We cannot review here the wealth of facts and detail which fills this extraordinary work of love, but some of Manwood’s remarks about the forest law should be brought forward for the historical as well as symbolic significance.”

Manwood (d.1610) was a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, gamekeeper of Waltham Forest and justice of New Forest. Originally issued for private circulation, under the title ‘A Brefe Collection of the Lawes of the Forest’ in 1592, ‘the first published edition of this excellent work, much enlarged and improved, appeared in 1598’ (DNB). An extremely popular work, it underwent several reprints and revisions.

ESTC S111855. “An enlarged edition of ‘A treatise and discourse of the lawes of the forrest’, incorporating much material from his ‘A brefe collection of the lawes of the forest’. STC 17292. Schwerdt vol. II, p.7. Lowndes IV, p.1469 (1744 edition). Sweet & Maxwell (1955), no. 38. Not in Jeanson.


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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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