Pietro Andrea Mattioli (1500-1577)
Commentarii in VI. libros Pedaciis Dioscoridis Anazarbei de Medica materia; De ratione distillandi aquas. Venice: Felice Valgrisi, 1583. Two parts in one, (343 x 234mm). Title to each part with printer's device, printer's device on final verso, full-page woodcut author portrait on b2v, 1012 woodcuts, in part by Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck, illustrating plants, fish, animals, distilling apparatus and a few genre scenes, ALL COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND. (Occasional browning and spotting, repaired tear in Dd2 into text without loss, paper flaw in yy5 affecting a few letters.) Contemporary German blindstamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, edges gilt and gauffered, paper label (slightly worn) in first spine compartment, one fore-edge clasp (of two) with brass catch (front joint just splitting). Provenance: Johann Georg Brix, medical doctor (purchase inscription on title recording a price of 10 florins, 40 schillings, some annotations, a few trimmed); Bonifacius Brix of Wahlberg, ducal medical doctor, (initials on front pastedown, flyleaf inscription: 'Ex Bibliotheca Domini Brix de Wahlberg Archiat[ricis] Frstenberg[ensis]') .
A RARE COLOURED COPY OF THE SECOND ENLARGED EDITION. Mattioli wrote a commentary on five books of Dioscorides's De materia medica to accompany his translation of them into Italian in 1544. The commentary quickly became 'an encyclopedia of Renaissance pharmacology' (cf. Stillwell, Awakening of Science 450) and in 1565 Mattioli augmented it considerably with fuller notes. The enlarged edition, here reprinted, is therefore considered the most complete. New animal woodcuts were produced for the 1565 edition. They are considered 'an important advance over the fairly mediocre ones used in Mattioli's earlier works' (Hunt), and the fine, large woodcuts by Giorgio Liberale and Wolfgang Meyerpeck, previously used in the German edition of 1563 and the first enlarged edition in 1565, also appear here. Five of the original Liberale-Meyerpeck woodblocks survive in the Hunt Botanical Collection. The cuts here are FINELY COLOURED IN WATERCOLOUR AND BODYCOLOUR, almost certainly executed in Germany soon after publication. The accuracy of the colouring is noteworthy. Adams D-675; Hunt 145; Johnston, Cleveland Botanical, 124; Nissen BBI 1305; Pritzel 5985.