BOCK, HIERONYMOUS. De stirpium commentariorum libri tres. - BENOIST TESSIER. De stirpium differentiis libellus. Translated from German by David Kyber. Strassburg: Wendel Rihel, 1552.
4to, 224 x 160mm, 18th-century Dutch mottled calf, gilt spine, red leather label in second compartment, red edges, discreetly repaired at spine edges, leaves lightly browned, very small wormholes.
FIRST LATIN EDITION, AND THE MOST FULLY ILLUSTRATED. Ornamental initials, printer's device at end, woodcut author portrait by David Kandel, 568 woodcuts of plants by Kandel, ALL COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND.
One of the three German fathers of modern botany, Bock was urged by Brunfels to write his own botanical work, after having made such significant contributions to Brunfels's work. As Bock states in his introduction, his aim was to describe plants in a systematic manner that was based on his own observations. This departure from primarily identifying plants of Dioscorides, together with his remarkably clear descriptions and discussion of "families" of plants, laid the ground-work for later systems of classification. Bock was "probably the first botanist of the 16th century to feel the necessity for some sort of classification" (Hunt). The clarity of his descriptions very likely resulted to some extent from the fact that the first edition, published in 1539, was unillustrated, Bock being unable to convince his publisher to pay for woodcuts. While many of the woodcuts are copies from Fuchs and Brunfels, a number are original designs by David Kandel, often charmingly depicting people, animals or insects as well as the intended plant. Kandel was sent as a young artist to Bock to make the illustrations, and clearly worked from living or dried specimens in a number of instances, while also depending on earlier illustrations of Fuchs editions and Weiditz.
This second illustrated edition contained almost 100 more woodcuts than the 1546 edition, including a fine portrait of Bock. This edition also marks the first inclusion of material by Tessier and Gessner, who contributed a bibliography of botanical writers, thus constituting the first botanical bibliography.
Hunt 66; Nissen BBI 183; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 576.
Provenance: J. van Spyk Vermeulen, 18th-century inscription -- library rubberstamp erased from flyleaves and title -- Arpad Plesch, booklabel (sale, Sotheby's London, 16 June 1975, lot 71) -- Robert de Belder.