Compendium de plantis omnibus, una cum earum iconibus, de quibus scripsit suis in commentariis in dioscoridem editis, in eorum studiosorum commodum, atque usum, qui plantis conquirendis, ac indagandis student; accessit praeterea ad calcem opusculum de itinere, quo e Verona in Baldum montem plantarum refertissimum itur, iisdem studiosis utilissimum.

Venice, Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1571.

4to, pp. [15], [1 (blank)], 921, [15]; woodcut device to title and final leaf, over 900 large woodcut illustrations; light damp-stain from lower edge, a little spotting to early leaves, small hole to *2 (with partial loss of 2 characters); a good copy in contemporary vellum over boards, gilt double-filleted borders and central arabesque block, spine in compartments with gilt centre-piece to each, sewn on 4 pairs of twisted thongs, spine and tail-edge lettered in ink; dust-stained with minor losses to spine, corners lightly bumped, upper turn-ins lifting; near-contemporary inscription of Giovanni di Lagnascho to title and annotation to p. 750, nineteenth-century inscription to front free endpaper ‘C. & L. H[???] Williams'.

£2250

Approximately:
US $3091€2636

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Compendium de plantis omnibus, una cum earum iconibus, de quibus scripsit suis in commentariis in dioscoridem editis, in eorum studiosorum commodum, atque usum, qui plantis conquirendis, ac indagandis student; accessit praeterea ad calcem opusculum de itinere, quo e Verona in Baldum montem plantarum refertissimum itur, iisdem studiosis utilissimum.

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First edition of this scarce digest of Matthioli’s commentaries on Dioscorides’s Materia medica. A heavily illustrated compendium drawn from the author’s earlier Commentarii (Venice, 1554), the Compendium offers a practical enchiridion to medicinal botany, with almost one thousand entries containing detailed woodcuts and notes on the form, location, and uses of each plant.

‘Matthioli, a noble Italian physician and scholar, a truly distinguished humanist representative of the intellectual world of the Renaissance, returned for his herbals to ancient science, and particularly to Dioscorides. His books were primarily for the scholarly community, and through his efforts all earlier works for scholars became extraneous and were set aside as surpassed.’ (Heilmann, Kräuterbücher, p. 262 trans.).

‘Fundamental to the work’s success is its conception and execution as a practical scientific treatise. It was intended for daily use by physicians, herbalists, and others, who could find descriptions and notes on medicinal plants and herbs, Greek and Latin names and synonyms, and the equivalents in other languages. The work made it possible to identify and compare its plants and herbs with those mentioned by Dioscorides and also with those found in nature… Many of the illustrations were reproductions of his own drawings or elaborations of drawings made by other authors; the rest were derived from original drawings placed at his disposal by other scholars.’ (DSB).

Matthioli’s work is followed by a short account of the botanical journey to Mount Baldo made by the Veronese pharmacist Francesco Calzolari (1522 – 1609).

USTC 841584; EDIT16 39025; Nissen 1306.

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