[HERBAL]. Le Grant Herbier en francoys: Contenant les qualitez vertus: et proprietez des herbes, arbres, gommes, semences, huylles, et pierres precieuses, extraict de plusieurs traictez de Medecine: Comme de Avicenne: Rasis: Constantin: Isaac: Plataire: et ypocras... Imprime nouvellement a Paris. Xlviii. Paris: Alain Lotrian, [ca 1533-34].
4o (182 x 126 mm). Collation: aa8, bb-cc4, dd6, a-z4, \KP\k4, A-F4, G8 H-L4 M8 N-O4 P6. 188 leaves, foliated in part. Bätarde type 80mm. 41 lines and headline, double column. Title printed in red and black with two woodcuts of plants, large criblé initial, and type ornament half-border, headline on aa2v printed in red, woodcut printer's device on verso of last leaf (Renouard Marques 1079). Over 300 woodcuts in text mainly of plants, 9-line and smaller criblé metalcut and 5-line and smaller woodcut ornamental and historiated initials. (Title-page soiled, a few pale stains to last gathering, the last leaf with two patches affecting a few letters and printer's device on verso, a few minor marginal tears, crossing some letters.) 19th-century vellum over pasteboards, edges stained red (front hinge cracked, some soiling); brown cloth slipcase. Provenance: Kenneth K. Mackenzie (gifted to): The Horticultural Society of New York (bookplate recording bequest); Robert De Belder; An Important Botanical Library Part I (Christies New York, 4 June 1997, lot 51).
EXTREMELY RARE. A late edition of the only early herbal to have originated in France, first printed ca 1487 under the title Arbolayre. The anonymous text, which circulated in manuscript in the fifteenth century under the title Secrets de Salerne, is a compilation of various medieval sources. Unlike the German and Latin herbals, it derives principally from the French version of Antidotarium, or Circa instans, of Matthaeus Platearius, which it incorporates virtually word for word with additional material from various Arabic authors including Avicenna and Rhazes. The woodcuts are reduced copies of the cuts from Johann Grüninger's editions of the Gart der Gesundheit. Of the 3 incunable editions and 20 known sixteenth-century editions of the Grant herbier, most are known in only a handful of copies, usually showing traces of heavy use and often imperfect. On the basis of the printer's material Moreau dated this edition, which was shared with the Denis Janot edition, to 1533-34. (The numeral 48 at the end of the title "is often taken for a date, but it is really the number of quires by which the book was priced (?) or taxed and probably was meant only for the information of the binder" Hunt, p. 47.) Brunet I, 378; Nissen BBI 2336; Hunt 35 (Janot issue, "possibly the Fairfax Murray copy"); Fairfax Murray French 226 (Janot issue); Moreau IV, 707 (listing BN copy [last leaf defective] and 2 copies in the British Library); cf. Anderson An Illustrated History of the Herbals chapter 13 for a discussion of the textual sources.