Titre : De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes.
Éditeur : Basel: Michael Isingrin, 1542.
Date d'édition : 1542
Folio, pp. (xxviii), 896, (4). Printer?s device on title and last leaf, woodcut portrait of Fuchs on verso of title, woodcut portraits of the artists on penultimate leaf, and 509 full-page woodcuts in the text. Seventeenth century French calf, panelled in gilt with double gilt fillet, spine gilt in compartments (spine and corners expertly restored, sides somewhat marked and rubbed). Some very minor foxing and finger soiling in the fore-edge margins, but a fine copy. Purchase note on front pastedown of Dr. Louis Morin in Paris on 12th June 1672. FIRST EDITION of Fuchs?s celebrated herbal. This work effected a revolution in the natural sciences comparable to that of Copernicus in astronomy and Vesalius in anatomy, both of which were published the following year, 1543. It was part of the pioneering efforts of Fuchs, Brunfels and Bock that earned them the title of the ?German fathers of botany? All three partook of a reforming zeal, partially religious in origin, to correct botanical knowledge, which had mostly been in the hands of itinerant and illiterate herbalists. To effect this reform accurate illustration and identification was the first requirement and it was to this task that Fuchs addressed himself. Fuchs employed the best artists then available in Basel: Albrecht Meyer did the drawings, Heinrich Füllmaurer transferred them to the woodblocks, and they were cut by Veit Rudolph Speckle. All three are depicted in the book, the first time that book illustrators are themselves portrayed and named. These illustrations set a new standard for botanical depiction and were some of the most influential in botanical history, being copied for innumerable works well into the 18th century. Some forty species are illustrated for the first time, including several American plants such as maize and the pumpkin. The herbals of Brunfels and Fuchs ?have rightly been ascribed importance in the history of botany, and for two reasons. In the first place they established the requisites of botanical illustration ? verisimilitude in form and habit, and accuracy of significant detail? Secondly they provided a corpus of plant species which were identifiable with a considerable degree of certainty by any reasonably careful observer, no matter by what classical or vernacular names they were called? (Morton, History of Botanical Science). Printing and the Mind of Man 69. Dibner 19. Horblit 33b. Hunt 48. Norman catalogue 846. Parkinson, Breakthroughs, p. 37. Stillwell 640. Sparrow, Milestones, 72. N° de réf. du libraire 1841
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