Strasbourg, Josias Rihel, 1572.
Folio [319 x 204 mm] of (20) ll., 369 ll., (17) ll. A few foxing and browning, a few waterstains in the margins, last l. teared up without loss. Blind-stamped pigskin, three framing friezes around the covers, ties preserved. Contemporary blind-stamped binding.
Precious and very rare edition printed and hand-colored in Strasbourg in 1572 of Bock’s famous herbarium, illustrated with hundreds of well-known woodcuts by David Kandel: printer’s mark on the title-page, portrait of the author and more than 500 engravings in the text fully enhanced with colors at the time.
The first methodical herbarium from the 16th century.
VD 16, B 6021; IA 120.597; Heilmann 193; Muller III, 519,137; Nissen, BBI 182; Stafleu/C. 575; STC 130; Pritzel 866, Jourdan, Biog. médicale, F. Ritter, Repr. bibliog. des livres imprimés en Alsace au xviè siècle, 1934, 219; Arber, Herbals, 1938, 59 and 221.
Lutheran Pastor Jerome Tragus called Bock (1498-1554), was also a doctor and an apothecary. Exiled in Sarrebruck after some religious troubles, he became a doctor at the Court of the Earl of Nassau.
Bock is a leader among the revivers of botany in the 16th century.
His studies on plants resulted from live observations, in nature, during his frequent excursions in the Ardennes, Vosges, Jura, Swiss Alps and the borders of the Rhine.
“Bock is the second Germanic founder of Botany… His descriptions of flowers were remarkably intelligible… he took into consideration some elements that his predecessors completely ignored. He established the corolla, stamens and pistils as essential components of many flowers and he’s probably the first botanist from the 16th century who understood the necessity of a classification.” Hunt.
“It was him first who introduced a certain method in botany that we couldn’t find nor in Brunfel neither in Fuchs.” (Jourdan, Biographie médicale.)
The « New Kreutter Buch », the most important work by Jerome Bock, was printed in Strasbourg in 1539.
Praised for its remarkable descriptions, it didn’t contain however any illustration.
All the iconographic part of this compilation was entrusted to the flowers painter David Kandel who conceived and executed more than 500 botanic drawings, wood engraved in the text, some of them with the artist’s monogram.
Most of those plates, published in 1546, were original; some were inspired by Brunfels and Fuchs.
The 4th part of the work, posthumous, of notable documentary interest with its panorama of contemporary crafts, was only added to the compilation in the edition of 1556.
Beautiful gothic Edition from Strasbourg illustrated with more than 500 woodcuts, whose obvious iconographic richness is magnified in this copy with the bright colors used by a watercolorist on each of these engravings. A great part of the woodcuts follow the quite classical presentation of a 16th century herbarium.
Some, filled with whim, are however an excuse for the author to represent animal or animated scenes, with a tree or a plant in the background: Asleep man under the grapevine. Pigs lead to the pannage under an oak. Sheperds under a beech. Rustic dance, storks, cherries picking, nuts picking by an adorned woman …
Several woodcuts, of notable interest, are dedicated to a panorama of different contemporary crafts : blacksmith, field labour, milking cows and making of the butter, honey beehive, salt purification, baker, wine press, barreling of the wine in kegs, sale of eggs and farmyard, butcher, making of the sausages, fish stall, grocer, rustic market, bourgeois meal…
Superb copy preserved in its attractive contemporary blind-stamped pigskin binding on wooden boards, with the clasps preserved, magnified by the contemporary hand-coloring.