GESNER, Conrad (1516-1565). Historiae animalium, Zurich: Christoph Froschouer the elder, 1551-1560.
Books I - IV (only, of 5) bound in 3 volumes, 2° (390 x 245mm). Woodcut printer's devices on titles, woodcut portrait of Gesner on verso of Book III title, c. 940 woodcut illustrations [Nissen count], the majority of those in Nomenclator aquatilium animantium with contemporary hand-colouring, woodcut initials, with blanks II, *4 and I8, III, c6, IV, QQ8, and Nomenclator Z6. (Some light browning or marking, light, generally marginal staining, causing small tears on some leaves, more severe and with mould in the third volume, short clean tears affecting text on some leaves, causing separation of portion of one leaf and loss on another, worming on I, H4-I6, lacking Icones avium, Nomenclator bound in after book III.). Panelled calf with rolls of religious figures, leaf-motifs and other designs, incised brass fore-edge clasps, spines in compartments and titled in manuscript, titled also on fore-edges (a little worn, some fittings slightly damaged, vellum lifting and clasps lacking on third vol.). Provenance: occasional annotations and early underlinings -- Bernard Mallincrot (d.1664, German theologian, inscription on volume I title noting that the book came from the library of Count Zapata, the King of Spain's plenipotentiary to the Treaty of Paris).
A COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF THE NATURAL WORLD BY GESNER, 'NOT ONLY THE BEST NATURALIST AMONG THE SCHOLARS OF HIS DAY, but of all men of that century, the pattern man of letters' (Wood). The present copy lacks, as often, the fifth book, which was published posthumously in 1587. Adams G-532, G-533, G-535, G-551, G-538; BM(NH) II, p.668; Brunet II, 1564-5; Nissen ZBI 1549, 1550, 1554; Nissen IVB 349; Wood p.356. (3)