STRADANUS, Joannes (1523-1605). [Venationes ferarum, auium, piscium. Pugnae Bestiariorum: & mutuae Bestiarum]. [Antwerp]: Philippus Gallaeus, [1580?].
Oblong 2o (262 x 340 mm). Engraved frontispiece containing the dedication to Duke Cosimo de'Medici and 104 engraved plates (lacking engraved title-page, dedication page cut down and mounted, some repairs on versos of plates, plate 7 with tear affecting plate, occasional marginal staining or soiling). 17th-century Flemish vellum gilt, (a few ink marks on covers, small hole near head of spine, some wear at edges).
Provenance: Early ink notation on front cover; Greville, Earl Brooke (armorial bookplate on rear pastedown and small ownership stamp in the margin of each plate); Elizabeth Edwards (tipped-in letter dated Sept. 27th, 1849); John Richard Baggallay Weeding (armorial bookplate on front pastedown); early typewritten English translations of the Latin phrases for each plate mounted to lower margins.
A VERY RARE EARLY EDITION OF STRADANUS'S WORK ON THE CHASE. Although born in Bruges, Jan van der Straat (or Stradanus) worked most of his life in Italy as a designer of cartoons for tapestries. From 1553 to 1571, he was employed by Cosimo de'Medici to design a series of lavish representations of hunting, fowling, and fishing for the adornment of 20 rooms in the Palace of Peggio-a-Cajano. The Venationes magnificently commemorates these designs (and others) depicting the traditional hunting methods of the renaissance with fanciful subjects of Eastern origin.
The plates in this copy are numbered 1-104, and while they correspond to the plates listed in Schwerdt, they are not bound in that order. See Schwerdt, pp. 226-28 ("We have come to the conclusion, after long study and much comparison, that there is a great deal of uncertainty about the various issues, because they were published gradually, as many as were ready being issued at the time with or without numerals."); Thiébaud p. 856-858. Sold as a collection of plates, not subject to return.