Sevilla, Andrea Pescioni, 1582.
Small folio [289 x 198 mm] of (6) ll., (91) ll., (1) bl. l. M6, 24 ll., 35 woodcut figures, text printed in two columns, a few browned leaves, tiny marginal waterstains on a few ll., minor marginal restoration which does not affect the text. Black morocco, richly decorated covers with gilt friezes intertwined, corner fleurons, spine ribbed with double gilt fillets and fleurons, double gilt fillet on the edges, inner gilt fillets, gilt edges. Binding signed by Weckesser
First edition of the first spanish book on hunting and the first book dealing with hunting in America, decorated with 35 woodcuts, 3 of which depict hunting scenes in America.
Palau, 16167 ; Alden/Landis, 582/4 ; Escudero (Sevilla), 726 ; Salvá, 2635 ; Schwerdt, I, 44 ; Souhart, 24 ; Pettegree, IB 7790 ; Gutierrez de la Vega 115; Harting 242; Streeter 4080.
Most of the text was written in 1342 at the request of Alfonso XI (1310-1350), king of Castile.
This is the first printed edition, considerably expanded by the historian Gonzalo Argote de Molina (1548-1596).
Molina added the part entitled “Discurso”, which contains chapters on the hunting of elephants in India and Africa and on the hunting of bison in Poland.
The book also includes three chapters on hunting in the New World, in Peru (Chaco, ch. 35), in Mexico (Oxio, ch. 36) and in the “Indias Ocidentales”, the West Indies (Santo Domingo, Cuba, Tierra Firme and New Spain, ch. 37).
These chapters deal with the hunting of certain curious animals in the Americas, such as the guanaco, vicunas and ostrich in Peru, the leopard, puma and wild boar in Mexico, and the wild bull in Venezuela and Cuba.
The 35 wooden engravings are the work of Juan de Arfey Villafane (1535-1603) or Mateo Pérez de Alesio (1547-1628).
The picture of the corrida (Discurso f. 9v [i.e. 14v] is considered the first printed representation of this subject.
“Harting describes this as one of the rarest of Spanish books on the chase; Souhart as « livre fort rare ». That it is held in high esteem is proved by Gutierrez de la Vega placing it at the head of all Spanish classics in his ‘Biblioteca Venatoria’ and reprinting a new version of it based on five of the many original manuscripts written between A.D. l342-l350.
The author, according to Gutierrez de la Vega, was King D. Alfonso XI de Castilla e de Leon. The work is the earliest Spanish treatise on the subject, and the edition the first recorded” (Schwerdt).
“A very rare book on the old Spanish hunt written around 1340. Argote de Molina’s work was reprinted in Madrid in 1882, small 8vo, and forms the fourth volume of the ‘Biblioteca Venatoria’; the ‘Libro della Monteria d’Alphonse XI’ also reprinted separately in 1877, forms the first two volumes of the same collection published by Tello by the care of S. Don Guttierez de la Vega.” (Souhart).
“In the Description raisonnée d’une jolie collection de livres by Ch. Nodier, 1844, 8vo, n°158, one reads the following note, about the Libro de la Monteria: “A rarer book than M. Brunet seems to suppose, who indicates it as quite rare only because it was found at Sir R. Heber’s five or six copies, or rather five or six fragments of copies, intended to make a good copy… I am therefore duly convinced that I mistook a fragment of a copy for a complete copy. Well, verification made, it turned out that the copy of Nodier was in conformity with my description. It was sold for 108 fr., because of the note as much as because of a beautiful morocco binding” (Brunet).
A very good wide-margined copy (height 289 mm) from the library of A. de Melotte de Lavaux.