24 June 2009
ALDINI, Tobia (17th century) and Pietro CASTELLI (ca 1575-1657). Exactissima descriptio rariorum quarundam plantarum...in Horto Farnesiano. Rome: Jacob Maseardi, 1625.
2o (307 x 210 mm). Engraved title-page by Luca Ciamberlano depicting the figures of Dioscorides and Theophrastus, 22 engraved plates and 5 woodcut illustations in text (front free endpaper with repaired tear, a few leaves with minor marginal dampstaining). Contemporary vellum (minor wear to spine ends and corners). Provenance: Library of the Jesuit House of Antwerp (contemporary ownership signature on title-page); Günther Schmid (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION of this catalogue of rare plants in the Farnese gardens in Rome written by its curator Tobia Aldini if Cesena. "Aldini presents various rare plants from the unique collection of the Farnese family, which due to its close ties with the Jesuit Order, frequently obtained seeds and specimens of exotic plants from priests returning to Rome after long periods abroad. The enthusiasm with which these plants were received in Rome during the first decades of the seventeenth century is well documented: new species were avidly sought after and grown in private gardens, constituting objects of prestige to be vaunted in cultivated circles" (Oak Park Flora). Exactissima is divided into sixteen chapters, each devoted to a particular plant, in which a description of the plant and its medicinal and culinary properties are provided along with an accompanying plate. In addition to the cassia, to which Aldini dedicates the opening chapter, he also describes the passion-flower, the tobinambur, and the Spanish dagger among others. Hunt 208; Johnston Cleveland Collections 172; Nissen BBI 13; Oak Spring Flora 28; Pritzel 1590 (as Castelli).
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