24 June 2009
ANGUILLARA, Luigi (ca 1512-70). Semplici... Liquali in piu Pareri à diversi nobili huomini scritti. Venice: Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1561.
8o (151 x 95 mm). Woodcut initials. (One or two spots and a few pale stains.) Contemporary vellum over pasteboards, yapp edges (lacking ties, scuffed at the edges with minor loss, a bit soiled, endpapers renewed). Provenance: Lui Antonio Coppini (contemporary inscription on title-page).
"THE GREATEST BOOK OF BOTANY WHICH HAD EVER BEEN WRITTEN IN ITALY" (Greene).
FIRST EDITION. The first director of the botanical garden in Padua and herbalist to the Duke of Ferrara, this is Anguillara's only know book. Written over a long period (1549-1560) and "devoted principally to the identification of the plants known to Dioscorides and the other ancient writers on material medica. Because of his travels in Greece, Italy, France, and Asia Minor and his great personal knowledge of plant life throughout the Mediterranean basin, Anguillara was among the best-equipped of sixteenth-century botanists to make such a study... the descriptions are sufficiently full and accurate that the majority of his plants have been identified by modern historians of botany. Frequently cited by seventeenth-century botanists, the Semplici still remains an important source for historical nomenclature and flortistic studies" (DSB). RARE: According to American Book Prices Current only one other copy has appeared at auction since 1979. Durling 224; Greene, Landmarks of Botanical History, p. 731; Pritzel 187; Wellcome (online) 14317316.
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