MEDICINE, SCIENCE & NATURAL HISTORY
AGRICOLA, Georgius (1494-1555). De l'arte de metalli. Basel: Hieronymus Froben & Nicolaus Episcopius, . 2° (326 x 225mm). Froben's woodcut device on title and last leaf, 2 engraved plates of which one folding, over 270 woodcuts, some signed with the monogram of Hans Rudolf Deutsch and historiated woodcut initials. (First quire washed and possibly supplied, erased ownership inscription on title, p. 301 shorter at bottom margin, staining to V6-X6.) Modern boards backed in vellum, manuscript title on spine (some minor stains). Provenance: unidentified contemporary annotations -- Guido Uccelli (bookplate).
FIRST ITALIAN EDITION of Agricola's best known work. The first edition was published in Latin in 1556 and was 'the first systematic treatise on mining and metallurgy and one of the first technological books of modern times' (PMM). The Re Metallica embraces everything connected with the mining industry and metallurgic processes, including administration, prospecting, the duties of officials and companies and the manufacture of glass, sulphur and alum. Some of the most important sections are those on mechanical engineering and the use of water-power, hauling, pumps, ventilation, blowing of furnaces etc. many of which are shown in the fine woodcuts by Z. Specklin (c. 1530-1576) and after Hans Rudolf Deutsch (1525-1571). The work was frequently reprinted and is said to have even reached China in the 17th-century. PMM 79 (first edition).