24 June 2009
[L'ECLUSE, Charles de]. CLUSIUS, Carolus. Rariorum plantarum historia... Antwerp: Plantin and J. Moretus, 1601. -- Exoticorum libri decem, quibus animalium, plantarum, aromatum...Fructuum historiae describunter. [Leyden:] Plantin-Raphelengius, 1605.
2 volumes in one, 2o (347 x 222 mm). Engraved title in each volume and botanical illustrations throughout. (Rariorum Plantarum without letterpress title-page and *1 ("Illustribus..."), small rust hole on H6 affecting text, some light spotting especially to the preliminaries which are also repaired in the gutter.) Contemporary blind-stamped paneled calf over beveled boards, three remaining brass corners and two catches (rebacked preserving most of the original spine, covers scuffed with some loss to the calf). Provenance: P.vander Gooes (contemporary ownership inscription obscured on front free endpaper); early inscription dated 1714 recording purchase on front pastedown.
"L'ECLUSE'S WORK... CAN BE DESCRIBED AS THE STARTING POINT OF OUR MODERN KNOWLEDGE FOR MANY GENERA" (Blunt & Stearn)
VOLUMES ONE AND TWO OF THE FIRST COLLECTED EDITION of the works of L'Ecluse, with preliminary leaves of the Rariorum Plantarum closely conforming to the Arents copy which is also lacking the letterpress title-page and *1 and with the original "Privilegium" (a cancel in the Hunt copy). This edition contains the first edition of the "Fungorum historia," the first published monograph on fungi: it "makes good the claim that de l'Ecluse should be honoured as the founder of mycology" (Arber). Nissen notes that the manuscript containing the original drawings of this section was mislaid in the Plantin printing establishment before the printing. They were later recovered, and Fr. van Sterbeeck used them for his Theatrum fungorum (1675), often mistakenly referred to as the first book on fungi.
"Again and again, in attempting to ascertain the correct application of names given by Linnaeus, the inquirer is lead back to L'Ecluse's work, which can be described as the starting point of our modern knowledge for many genera. His description and the associated illustrations thus help to typify the species of later authors. Arents Tobacco 73; Blunt & Stearn The Art of Botanical Illustration p.82; Hunt 180, 182; Nissen BBI 369, 372; Pritzel 1760; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 1149; Wellcome I 1511, 1512.
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