LOBEL, MATTHIAS DE. Plantarum seu stirpium historia. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1576. FIRST EDITION. 4to, architectural title-page, full-page woodcut amorial insignia of de Lobel, 1441 woodcut illustrations of plants, cancels of woodcut illustrations on R3r, R4v, and m4v, ornamental initial. [Bound second with:] PENA, PIERRE and MATTHIAS DE LOBEL. Nova stirpium adversaria. (Formulae Remediorum by GUILLAUME RONDELET). Antwerp: Christopher Plantin 1576. Folio and 4to, architectural title-page, 273 woodcut illustrations of plants, 5 woodcuts pasted or tipped in, historiated and ornamental woodcut initials. 2 works in one volume, 309 x 207mm, contemporary blindstamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, roll-tooled border, central panel stamp on both covers, the one on the rear cover signed "M.R.", missing 2 fore-edge clasps, leaves browned, some spotting. Hunt 126-127; Nissen BBI 1218; Stafleu & Cowan 4907.
One of the "milestones of modern botany" (DSB), Lobel's Plantarum seu stirpium historia was first published in London in 1570-71. Plantin then bought 800 copies for 1200 guilders, printed a new title-page, colophon and 36 leaves of index, and reissued the work to accompany the first edition of Lobel and Pena's Nova stirpium historia. The combined texts contain over 1700 woodcuts, 782 of which (according to Nissen) were newly cut by Antonius van Leest and Gerard Jansen van Kampen, and others were taken from previously published editions of Dodoens and Clusius. The woodcut pasted in on p.252 of the Purfoot/Plantin edition is the first illustration of Nicotiana Tabacum. Lobel's system of botanical classification according to leaf forms was one of the earliest, and demarcated the medieval approach based on grouping plants according to medicinal uses and the modern approach based on a scientific analysis of the characteristics and properties of plants. Lobel was thus one of the great pre-Linnean botanists.
This copy formerly belonged to Casimir Christoph Schmidel, physician to the margrave in Ansbach, botanist, and author of Icones plantarum, and editor of Gessner botanical works.
Provenance: Andreas Rosa, purchase inscription on title -- Casimir Christoph Schmidel (1718-1792), inscription on flyleaf -- Kenneth K. Mackenzie; Horticultural Society of New York, bookplate and blindstamp.