London, South Kensington
18 November 2003
MERCURIALIS, Hieronymus (1530-1606). De Arte gymnastica. Amsterdam; Andreas Frisius, 1672. 4° (229 x 178mm). Greek and roman types. Additional engraved allegorical title, engraved title vignette, 7 engraved plates (5 folding), one small engraved plate, 23 full-page woodcuts, 3 half-page woodcuts. ?18th-century vellum, leather spine label. Provenance: Peter Novaille, Greatness (bookplate) -- G.H.D. (flyleaf initialled with price 2.10.0).
A fine, fresh copy of this work on sport. First published in 1569, it is 'one of the earliest books to discuss the therapeutic value of gymnastics and sports generally for the cure of disease and disability, and an important study of gymnastics in the ancient world' (Garrison-Morton 1986); the second edition of 1573 was the first illustrated book on gymnastics, containing woodcuts by Cristoforo Coriolano after Pirro Ligorio, which also appear here. The date on the titlepage has been altered in manuscript to 1674. Brunet III, 1646 ('bonne edition de cet ouvrage estimé'); Wellcome IV, p.116.
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