LOBEL, MATTHIAS DE. Plantarum seu stirpium icones. Antwerp: Chistopher Plantin, 1581. Oblong 4to, 176 x 223mm, 17th-century calf, front cover gilt-stamped with initials "WCO", gilt spine, red leather label in second compartment, "1182" in bottom compartment, red edges, light wear to spine edges, leaves browned, spotted, first few leaves creased, single small wormhole. FIRST EDITION. Plantin device on title, ornamental initial, 2173 woodcuts, printed 2-3 per page. Hunt 138; Nissen BBI 1220; Pritzel 5549; Stafleu & Cowan 4909; Voet 1580.
The work consists almost entirely of the woodcuts which Plantin had made for various botanical works, principally Clusius and Dodoens, printed 2 or 3 to a page, each with Latin name and a page reference to the Latin and Dutch editions of Lobel's full text. After the Clusius edition of 1576, the Plantarum contains some of the earliest woodcuts of exotic plants, such as tulips, introduced to Europe from Asia Minor. "It is a most useful reference work in connection with the study of 16th-century botanical illustration" (Hunt). The woodcuts were later used in the 1633 edition of Gerarde's Herbal.
Provenance: W.C.O., initials on binding -- Theophilus Kentman, (1552-1610, physician, author of Pritzel 4623), inscription on title -- George Moser, inscription on title -- Dr. Levade, bookplate -- Louis Leresche -- Emile Burnat, bookplate, no. 1182, given to; Conservatoire Botanique de Genève, bookplate, deaccession stamp 1922 -- Kenneth K. Mackenzie; Horticultural Society of New York, bookplate and blindstamp.