[L'ECLUSE, Charles de (1526-1609)]. CLUSIUS, Carolus. Rariorum Plantarum Historia... Antwerp: J. Moretus, 1601.
2o in 6s (350 x 215 mm). Engraved title, portrait of the author and numerous woodcut illustrations in text. (Lacking letterpress title-page, small hole in sectional title-page of Honorii Belli..., not affecting text, some light browning and a few stains.) 19th-century speckled calf gilt, (rebacked, worn at the extremities). Provenance: Dr. Hull (note regarding his sale); Lord Battersea (Heraldic bookplate); unidentified 19th century note on Clusius and the publication of this work; Hans Henneck (signature dated 1942); Paracelsus-Apotheke (ink stamp).
FIRST COLLECTED EDITION with preliminary leaves closely conforming to the Arents copy which is also lacking the letterpress title-page: Engraved title, *2-3, [*4 -5], without dedication leaf and with the original Privilegium [a cancel in the Hunt copy], without the Altera Appendix. First volume of the collected works of Clusius, completed in 1605 with the Exoticoru. This edition contains the first edition of the Fungorum historia, the first published monograph on fungi; it "makes good the claim that de l'Ecluse should be honoured as the founder of mycology" (Arber). Nissen notes that the manuscript containing the original drawings of this section was mislaid in the Plantin printing establishment before the printing. They were later recovered, and Fr. van Sterbeeck used them for his Theatrum fungorum (1675), often mistakenly referred to as the first book on fungi. "Again and again, in attempting to ascertain the correct application of names given by Linnaeus, the inquirer is lead back to L'Ecluse's work, which can be described as the starting point of our modern knowledge for many genera. His description and the associated illustrations thus help to typify the species of later authors. Moreover his enthusiastic cultivation of foreign plants, particularly those from Turkey and the Levant, prepared the way for the splendid gardens of seventeenth century France, Germany, Austrai, Flanders and Holland; and his introduction of the potato to the Low Countries rendered no less a service to their food. His death in 1609 is commemorated in the felicitous epitaph: When Clusius knew each plant Earth's bosom yields, He went a-simpling in the Elysian fields" (Blunt and Stearn The Art of Botanical Illustration p.82). Hunt 180; Nissen BBI 372; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 1149; Wellcome I 1511.