HERNANDEZ, FRANCISCO. Nova Plantarum, Animalium et Mineralium Mexicanorum Historia, printer? Rome, 1651.
Folio, 320 x 218 mm. (12 5/8 x 8 9/16 in.), contemporary English red morocco gilt BY SAMUEL MEARNE, CROWNED CIPHER OF CHARLES II within palm leaves at corners of central panel and in six compartments of spine, foot of spine lettered J.M., neatly rebacked using the the panels and the spine label of old binding, minor repairs and rubbing to corners, g.e.; a few minor flaws and worming, slight browning, a few leaves just trimmed.
First (published) Latin edition. Title printed in red and black with engraved vignette, additional engraved title with small map of Mexico, approximately 800 woodcut illustrations in text, numerous initial capital letters, ornamental head- and tail pieces and engraved music at p. 717.
This Latin translation first appeared in 1628 but was not distributed. The sheets with new preliminaries were used for the reissues of 1648, 1649 and 1651. "As for the book itself, with its brilliant appended treatises, it was here at last that Hernandez' work received the recognition that it deserved. Though it is only a small part of all that he had written it is a monument of industry and erudition, the more remarkable as being the first on the subject, and even today it holds its place as a book of highest authority" (Hunt).
BMC 17th-century Italian p. 433; Hunt 247; Nissen BBI 861 and ZBI 1908a; Palau 113538.
Provenance: Contemporary insription "Joh. Mauritius" on title, i.e. John Morris (c. 1580-1658), number 720 in his catalogue (published by T.A. Birrell, The Library of John Morris, 1976) -- Charles II, acquired from Morris's widow shortly after the Restoration -- British Museum, who added the initials J.M. on the spine to indicate Morris provenance, duplicate stamp (sold 1787) -- Heneage Finch, fourth Earl of Aylesford (1751-1812) a pupil of Piranesi, (perhaps by Piranesi) bookplate -- Arpad Plesch, bookplate (sale, Sotheby's London, 17 November 1975, lot 340) -- Robert de Belder (sale, Sotheby's London, 27 April 1987, lot 148).