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January 30, 2018

De Historia Stirpium

Herbal Collection

De Historia Stirpium Comentarii Insignes
Basil: in officina Isingriniana, 1542

The CMLA has two copies of this work: the first, bound in vellum with 6 ribs and an orange leather tag on the spine, is a folio, 37.5 x 25.4cm; the second copy, also a folio, 37.3 x 25.5cm, is bound in red leather with gold tooling on the spine and gilt edges. Both bear inscriptions and ex libris.

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Both works have hand-colored plates throughout. According to Johnston, in the Cleveland Herbal, the works were published with the intention that they could be hand colored, much like a coloring book, and each has 511 woodcuts of plants, many of which are full page prints.

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According to Johnston, Leonard Fuchs "is regarded as the third of the German 'fathers of botany.'" And in these works Fuchs "sought to provide his readers with the classical descriptions of medical plants from Dioscorides, Pliny, Galen, etc." These books include the "earliest portrayal of maize, which Fuchs thought came from Turkey." Fuchs was renown for his treatment of the English sweating sickness.

As with other works of this period, the book was produced by an author, an illustrator, a transposer, and a block cutter, each of whom is pictured in both works: Leonard Fuchs, Albrecht Meyer, Heinrich Fullmaurer, and Veit Rudolf, respectively.

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According to Wikipedia, the botanical genus Fuchsia is named in honor of Fuchs, as is the colour fuchsia.

Posted by twh7 at 11:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 04, 2018

Hortus Sanitatis

Herbal Collection

I thought I’d use this blog as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. As I go through the Rare Books in the collection of the Cleveland Medical Library Association, the Cleveland Health Sciences Library, and the Dittrick Medical History Center, I’ll post about them.

Currently, I’m examining the Herbal Collection, which actually consists of several collections in the Allen Memorial Medical Library. Notably, there is the George Gehring Marshall Collection of Herbals, the Jared Potter Kirtland Collection, and finally, there are some items that belong in the collection of Nicholas Pol, physician to two Holy Roman Emperors

I am using as a guide, of sorts, the work of Stanley H. Johnston, Jr., who compiled The Cleveland Herbal, Botanical, and Horticultural Collections: A Descriptive Bibliography of Pre-1830 Works from the Libraries of the Holden Arboretum, the Cleveland Medical Library Association, and the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland. (Z 5352 J73c 1992).

Hortus Sanitatis, 1491.

Folio. 27.7cm x 19.7cm.

This book has clearly been re-bound. Whether it retained the original case, I cannot say, though I suspect not. 5 raised ribs, false, as there are no cords outside the text block. Gilt stamping on spine “HORTUS | SANITATIS” and “MAINZ | 1491”. Gilt turn-ins, with golden stars bursts inside circles. The endpapers are not original, and are brittle. Gilt edges. The front board and spine has come away from the block.

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I’m going to avoid a strict bibliographical description of the work, partly because I don’t think it would be particularly interesting for anyone here to read, and partly because Johnston has done somewhat of a description of his own. The work is a folio, and, per Johnston, there are 454 leaves, 7 full page woodcuts, and 1066 woodcuts in the text: 530 of plants. One of the full page woodcuts (the last) is missing and has been replaced by facsimile on the same paper as that of the end papers.

The work is broken into sections that consider the properties of herbs, land creatures, birds, water creatures, rare stones, and a tract on urine.

The woodcuts are fantastic and placed throughout the work, which must have added an immense amount of time and expense to the production of this book. Of interest is the first woodcut, on the verso of the title page, has been traced on to the title page (recto), which gives the perception that the woodcut has been printed on both sides of the page: one in black and white and one colored.

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There are tears throughout, some have been repaired, marginalia and handwritten notes as well. As should be clear from the images, some of the woodcuts have been hand colored.

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Posted by twh7 at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)