PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ANITA PEEK GILGER, M.D.
Dr. Anita Peek Gilger (1920-2002) was an avid book collector who took great pride in her educational and professional achievements. She was a graduate of Vassar College (1940) and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (1944) where she was the valedictorian of her class. Her professional life was spent in Cleveland, Ohio. She served on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University as a Professor of Opthomology and practiced medicine at University Hospitals of Cleveland as an Opthomologist. A pioneer in medical research on premature infants, Dr. Gilger, along with her research partner, discovered that exposing premature infants to excessive amounts of oxygen results in blindness.
Dr. Gilger began collecting botanical books in the 1950s as a natural extension of her intellectual pursuits and her appreciation of the natural world. She was a meticulous and thorough collector.
-- Melissa A.W. Stickney
Where known, Christie's has provided Dr. Gilger's purchase information in the provenance.
ALDINI, Tobia (17th. century) and Pietro CASTELLI (ca 1575-1657). Exactissima descriptio rariorum quarundam plantarum...in Horto Farnesiano. Rome: Jacob Maseardi, 1625.
2o (325 x 223 mm). Engraved title by "L.C.", 22 engraved plates and 5 woodcut illustations in text (scattered light foxing, staining to endpapers). Contemporary vellum (some light staining, minor wear to head of spine).
FIRST EDITION of this catalogue of rare plants in the Farnese gardens. "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."
"Exactissima descriptio is divided into sixteen chapters, each one of which is devoted to a particular plant. A complete description of the plant, as well as details concerning its medicinal and culinary properties, are provided, while elegantly engraved plates aid the reader to grasp its salient characteristics... Although the name of the artist who made the preparatory drawings for this work is not known, the engraver can be identified as the same artist who signed the frontispiece, Luca Ciamberlano (1586-1641), then working in Rome as an engraver of religious, classical and allegorical subjects and as a designer of frontispieces. It is known that Castelli was an accomplished draughtsman with regard to plants, and it is quite possible that he was responsible for these high-quality plates..." (Cleveland). The authorship of this work has been debated. Hunt 208; Cleveland Collections 172; Nissen BBI 13; Oak Spring Flora 28; Pritzel 1590 (as Castelli).