HERBAL, English. [The grete herball. Southwarke: Peter Treveris, 17 March 1529].
Folio, 270 x 182 mm., 18th-century calf, covers and spine panelled in gilt, central gilt blocked arms of the Earl of Dysart, red morocco lettering-pieces, joints split, rubbed, lacking title-leaf, colophon leaf, and 6, 1-inch tear into text of K1, a few very small marginal wormholes, tears or repairs, corners of first and last few leaves soiled and frayed, first leaf soiled, occasional minor staining.
Second edition. Black letter, double column, 479 impressions of 44 small text woodcuts of plants, animals, minerals and genre scenes (the latter listed by Hodnett, 2420-2463), historiated and ornamental woodcut initials.
Second edition of the first illustrated book on plants to be published in England, much rarer than Treveris's 1526 edition. Except for the preface and the treatise on urines, derived from the Gart der Gesundheit, the Grete Herball is fundamentally a translation of the French Grant Herbier or Arbolayre. The woodcuts, previously used in the first edition, are copies of the cuts in 16th-century Dutch vernacular editions of the Herbarius (Den herbarius in dijetsche, Antwerp 1511, Den groten herbarius, Antwerp 1514, and later editions), which derive from the German Gart der Gesundheit woodcut lineage. Treveris also used the cuts for his two editions of Brunschwig's Boke of Distyllacion (1527 and undated).
VERY RARE. The only complete copy of this edition to appear at auction during the past 40 or more years was the Ahumada copy, sold at Christie's New York, 29 October 1992, lot 46; prior to that, the Robin Howard copy, lacking three leaves (sold at Sotheby's London, 1 March, 1976).
Henrey 169; cf. Hunt 25n; Nissen BBI 2297; STC 13177, locating 8 copies, of which 2 imperfect, as well as a single copy of a different issue (13177.5), with the device of L. Andrewes replacing the Treveris colophon.
Provenance: Contemporary English ownership inscription on P5v, citing three names, "Christopher Haw---?... John Brine of the Parish of Stanesfeld(?), [and] John Barsell", with an 11-line inventory of personal effects (including a hat and various items of clothing), a few marginal notes in the same hand -- Lionel, fourth Earl of Dysart, supra-libros -- Lord Tollemache -- Robert de Belder.