[DALÉCHAMPS, JACQUES.] Historia Generalis Plantarum, Lyons: G. Roville, 1587-86. 2 vols. in one, folio, 384 x 236 mm., contemporary blindstamped half calf over wooden boards, scuffed, later morocco spine label, clasps and catches lacking, free endleaves excised, first title and a few preliminary leaves with marginal soiling, early owner's name inked out on first titlepage, marginal dampstains (generally light and mostly not affecting text), FIRST EDITION of an extensive French herbal, frequently reprinted, with appendix of exotic plants including New World plants (largely from Acosta), title-pages printed in red and black with Roville's large device within an elaborate entablature, 2751 quarter-page woodcuts of plants, many including depictions of small winged insects in the blank areas surrounding the plants, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and 8-line historiated capitals (many depicting birds). Baudrier IX, pp.396-7 and 403; Hunt 154 (dated 1587-1586, questioning Baudrier's 1586 date for vol.1): Nissen 446; Safleu & Cowan ("most copies [all seen by us] of vol.1 bear the date of 1587").
The woodcuts, first employed in a 1579 Lyons edition of Matthioli's Commentarii, "present one curious feature: the engraver, afflicted apparently by a horror vacui has decorated the blank spaces of his blocks with insects and falling flowers (Blunt & Stearn, p.86). "[A] compilation of the botanical knowledge available at that date...important because it shows another groping attempt at a classification of plants..." (Hunt).
Provenance: "J.Langerii," eighteenth-century inscription on first titlepage -- "MB," engraved bookplate with coronet.