[The Grete Herball, which geveth parfyte knowledge & understange of al maner of herbes and theyr gracious vertues.] Southwarke: P. Treveris, 27 July, 1526.
Small 2o (243 x 180 mm). 158 (of 174) leaves. Black letter, double column, numerous column-width woodcuts in text of plants, animals, minerals and genre scenes, historiated and ornamental woodcut initials, large woodcut printer's device within 4 block woodcut frame on recto of last leaf. (Lacks 16 leaves: title +1 +2-6, A1 3-4 6 and Cc6, T1-X1, Dd1-Ee5 and a few other leaves with marginal repairs affecting text.) Modern vellum. Provenance: The Hartland Library, Gloucestershire (bookplate).
THE RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED ENGLISH HERBAL. Except for the preface and the treatise on urines, derived from the Gart der Gesundheit, the Grete Herball is fundamentally a translation of the French Grant Herbier or Arbolayre. The woodcuts, are copies of the cuts in 16th-century Dutch vernacular editions of the Herbarius (Den herbarius in dijetsche, Antwerp 1511, Den groten herbarius, Antwerp 1514, and later editions), which derive from the German Gart der Gesundheit woodcut lineage. Treveris also used the cuts for his two editions of Brunschwig's Boke of Distyllacion (1527 and undated). Extremely rare in any condition. There are three copies located in America and incomplete copies at the Yale Medical Library and in the Marshall Collection, as well as a made-up copy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. VERY RARE IN ANY CONDITION: according to American Book Prices Current, only one complete copy (sold Sotheby's New York 11 December 2008) has sold at auction in the past 30 years. Henrey 168; Hunt 25; Johnston/Cleveland Collections 36; Nissen BBI 2296; STC 13176. Sold not subject to return.