Herbarius Latinus (with German Snynonyms). [Passau: Johann Petri, 1485].
Chancery 4to, 184 x 129 mm., modern blindstamped calf; lacking title-page (1/1, supplied in excellent type facsimile) and blank leaf (20/8), 15 leaves damaged at center affecting illustrations on rectos (repaired with portions of image skilfully redrawn in facsimile and recolored) and text on versos (with varying loss of text): 2/4, 3/7, 3/8, 4/1, 4/3, 5/4, 5/6, 6/3, 6/6, 7/3, 8/7, 8/8, 11/2, 12/1, and 12/5; several leaves with repaired tears crossing a few lines of text (2/2, 2/7, 3/1 and 7/8), few other marginal defects repaired, some chapter numeration cut into, some soiling and dampstaining.
Collation: [1. 2-218 22..] (1/2r-v preface, 1/3-1/4r table for part 1, 1/4v blank, 2/1r-20/6v text of part 1, 20/7r-v table for parts 2-7, 21/1r-22/10v Text of parts 2-7). Types: 2:150 ([title], headings, and chapter numeration); 1:92 (text). 172 leaves (of 174, lacking fol. 1/1 title-page and 20/8 blank), without signatures or foliation. 34 lines. 150 half-page woodcuts of plants (figure 96, Nasturtium, printed upside down), COLORED BY AN EARLY AND POSSIBLY CONTEMPORARY HAND. Space for six-line initial on 1/2r blank, spaces for initials with guide letters in part 2.
First of three editions of the Passau Herbarius, and the first dated book from the press of Johann Petri at Passau (the second printer of that city). The text is an almost unaltered reprint of the first edition, printed by Peter Schoeffer in Mainz in 1484, with the woodcuts copied in reverse. The Herbarius Latinus was the prototype for all later fifteenth-century herbals and the most popular herbal of the incunable period. Strictly medieval in its text, derived largely from Vincent de Beauvais's Speculum naturale and arranged in alphabetical order of plant name, and in the simplicity of its schematic woodcut illustrations, the Herbarius was intended to address the needs of laymen who lacked access to physicians. The 96 chapters of parts 2-7, which are unillustrated, treat the classic materia medica, including animal and mineral products as well as fruits, spices, gums and resins. Thirteen fifteenth-century editions are recorded. In Petri's editions "the text and the arrangement are identical with Schoeffer's edition. Only the German names of plants are sometimes spelt differently on account of the varying dialects, and sometimes they are quite different, a fact which gives a special interest to this edition" (Klebs).
HC(Add) 8445*; BMC II,616 (imperfect, as is the BL copy of the undated edition); Goff H-64; Nissen BBI 2299; Klebs Early Herbals 7; Fairfax Murray German 191; Wellcome 3098.
Provenance: A few early marginal notes -- F.W.T. Hunger, Amsterdam, botanical historian, bookplate (sale Amsterdam November 7, 1951, lot 6) -- Arpad Plesch, bookplate (sale Sotheby's, 17 November 1975, lot 335).