BRECHTEL, Christopherus Fabius (d.1622). Nomenclatura pharmaceutica: hoc est, liber appellationum et titulorum, omnium praecipuorum medicamentorum ... pro usu officinarum omnium pharmacopolarum. Nuremberg: Sebastian Heusler, 1603.
2° (319 x 203mm). Printed in red and black. 4 preliminary leaves (title, dedication, address to the reader, contents), and 242 leaves printed on one side only, 237 in large gothic type (including one leaf of errata at end) and 5 in smaller roman type. Contemporary green vellum over thin pasteboard, tooled in gold with the arms of Ferdinand Hofmann, Freiherr von Grevenstein, two triple fillet borders of unstained vellum, flat spine similarly tooled, lettered in upper compartment, edges sprinkled red and blue (slightly rubbed, missing two fore-edge ties, a few small splits), modern green linen chemise and half-morocco slipcase. Provenance: Ferdinand Hofmann, Freiherr von Grevenstein, with his large bookplate engraved by Lucas Kilian after M. Göndelach -- Robert Honeyman (sale Sotheby's, 31 October 1978, lot 498, £5,000) -- British Rail Pension Fund (sale Sotheby's, 27 September 1988).
A rare survival in remarkably fresh condition of labels giving the Latin names of substances to be found in an apothecary's shop. They were intended to be cut out and pasted on to jars, drawers or other containers to ensure correct and uniform identification. As Brechtel states in his introduction, he hopes his work not only provides legible labels printed in large type, but provides correct and accurate nomenclature of all possible medical and chemical substances. Among those to whom Brechtel dedicates his work is Basilius Besler, the Nuremberg apothecary responsible for the publication of the celebrated florilegium, the Hortus Eystettensis (1613). One may surmise therefore that Brechtel's labels graced the jars in Besler's Nuremberg shop. Although Brechtel refers to himself on the title-page simply as a mathematician and citizen of Nuremberg, he was a noted calligrapher, who published at least two books on the art of writing (cf. Thieme-Becker). Legible and attractive labels, mechanically produced on the printing press, are a natural, and presumably profitable, extension of his interest in letterforms.