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    Sale 2170

    Important Botanical Books

    24 June 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 176

    PORTA, Giovanni Baptista della. De distillatione lib. IX. Rome: Camera Apostolica, 1608.

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    PORTA, Giovanni Baptista della. De distillatione lib. IX. Rome: Camera Apostolica, 1608.

    4o (222 x 160 mm). Laudatory epigrams in Hebrew, Greek, Chaldean, Arabic, Slavonic, and Armenian, each with their Latin translations. Full-page copper-engraved portrait of Porta by I. Laurus, woodcut initials, and 35 woodcut illustrations in text. (Some occasional minor spotting, minor marginal dampstaining to index leaves.) Contemporary vellum.

    FIRST EDITION. Porta's treatise gives the most comprehensive view of the applications of distillation in the sixteenth century. The work is an expansion of the section on distillation in Book X of the enlarged edition of his Magia naturalis (1589). The nine parts of De distillatione deal with the various kinds of distillation, including methods of extraction, the preparation of scented distilled waters, oils distilled from resins, oils distilled from woods, the distillation of corrosive mineral acids, the properties of these acids, distillation of alcohol from wine, and the preparation of various ointments. "Among the many fine woodcuts contained in the book, the most curious are those depicting pieces of apparatus likened to different animals" (Duveen). Duveen p. 481; Ferguson II, 216 (Strasburg edition of 1609 "The Roman edition is a much finer book"); Norman 1725; Partington II, p.24; Riccardi I(2), 312.


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