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GESNER, Conrad. Historiae animalium liber III qui est de auium natura. Zurich: Froschauer, 1555.
GESNER, Conrad. Historiae animalium liber III qui est de auium natura. Zurich: Froschauer, 1555.

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GESNER, Conrad. Historiae animalium liber III qui est de auium natura. Zurich: Froschauer, 1555.

2o (390 x 248 mm). Hand-colored woodcut printer's device on title, woodcut portrait and 222 woodcut illustrations of birds all COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND; text ruled in red. (A few minor marginal tears, some occasional light staining, later neat ink captions to blank areas.) Contemporary calf with central gilt arabesque stamp and four arabesque corner pieces surrounded by a gilt border of a double fillet, gilt edges (wear to joints and edges, cords sound). Provenance: Rodolphe de Salis, baron de Zitzers (owners name dated 1695 on front flyleaf).

FIRST EDITION, COLORED BY CONTEMPORARY HAND, of Gesner's work on birds from his monumental historia animalium, which was "the most authoritative zoological book between Aristotle and the publication of Ray's classification of fauna in 1693. ... it remained the standard reference book even as late as Linné [1735]" (PMM) The birds are arranged alphabetically, with the descriptions, written by Gesner as well his scholarly contemparies, detailing the name, habitat, characteristics, and literary/symbolic associations of each. While Gesner lists a number of author's who contributed to the work, he does not name the artists involved in creating the many woodcuts. Adams G-535; Nissen IVB 349; PMM 77.

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