AGRICOLA, Georgius (Georg BAUER, 1494-1555). De re metallica libri XII. -De animantibus subterraneis liber. Basel: Hieronymus Froben and Nicolaus Bischoff, March 1556.
2° (330 x 220mm). Woodcut printer's device on title, repeated on Bb6v. Roman, greek and gothic types. 2 woodcut plates, one folding, woodcut illustrations and diagrams, the majority full-page-width, some full-page, white-on-black initials. (Light browning and occasional spotting, first plate misbound after p.67, unobtrusive marginal worming affecting a few leaves.) Early 20th-century half-vellum over marbled boards, spine titled in gilt (vellum slightly marked). Provenance: marginal annotations and underlinings in early hands; Gennaro Giannelli (titel inscription); D. [?]Bagot (title inscription); Horace William Sandars F.S.A. (?author of Apuntes sobre la apellida 'Mina de la Plata' próxima a Baeza, en la provincia de Jaén (Madrid: 1924), bookplate).
FIRST EDITION OF 'THE FIRST SYSTEMATIC TREATISE ON MINING AND METALLURGY AND ONE OF THE FIRST TECHNOLOGICAL BOOKS OF MODERN TIMES' (PMM). Agricola's celebrated mining manual was written over a 20-year period between 1530 and 1550, synthesising the knowledge he had acquired in his travels and work in many of the 16th-century mining centres of Europe (including Styria, the Tyrol, Joachimsthal and Chemnitz) with his theoretical knowledge gained through study at the universities of Leipzig, Bologna and Padua. Agricola's earlier treatise on subterranean zoology, De animantibus subterraneis (first published Basel: 1549), was appended to the 12 books of De re metallica to produce a treatise which 'embraces everything connected with the mining industry and metallurgical processes, including administration, prospecting, the duties of officials and companies and the manufacture of glass, sulphur and alum' (PMM). The work is amply illustrated with a fine series of woodcuts, generally attributed to Hans Rudolf Manuel Deutsch (fl.1525-1572, cf. Duveen and PMM), which illustrate all aspects of the subject, including instruments, forges and mines. Adams A-349; Brunet I, 113; Dibner 88; Duveen pp.4-5; Grolier/Horblit 2b; Hoover Mining 17; Norman 20; PMM 79.