Thierbuch. Das ist ein kurtze Bschreybung aller vierfüssigen Thieren, so auff der Erden und in Wassern wonend, sampt jrer waren conterfactur... Zurich, Conrad Froschauer, 1563.
[with:] Vogelbuch, darin die Art, Natur und Eigenschafft aller Voglen sampt jrer waren Contrafacturangezeigt wirt... Zurich, Conrad Froschauer, 1557. [with:] Fischbuch, das ist, ein kurtze, doch vollkommne Beschreybung aller Fischen so in dem Meer und süssen Wasseren, Seen, Flüssen, oder anderen Bächen ir Wonung habend, sampt irer waaren Conterfactur: zu Nutz und Gutem allen Artzeten, Maleren, Weydleüten und Köchen gestelt... Zurich, Conrad Froschauer, 1563. 3 vols in one. Folio (384 x 237mm). 'Thierbuch': ff.(4), clxxii, with 149 woodcuts in text; 'Vogelbuch': ff. (6), cclxiii (1, blank) with 217 woodcuts in text; 'Fischbuch': ff. (6), ccii, with 716 woodcuts in text; copy double-ruled in red throughout, with fine hand-colouring in gouache, some woodcuts with silver and gold, initials with red and blue illumination; various marginal repairs, occasionally touching text but not affecting woodcuts, in contemporary German calf over wooden boards, with gilt centre and corner ornaments, brass corner pieces, gilt spine rebacked preserving original, gilt and gauffred edges, new endpapers.
A spectacular illuminated copy of first German editions of Gesner's 'Historia Animalium', in fine contemporary German colouring to the more than 1000 woodcuts. This work is a monumental encyclopaedia of the animal kingdom and the first systematic treatise on zoology of the Renaissance. It was 'the most authoritative zoological book between Aristotle and the publication of Ray's classification of fauna in 1693... it remained the standard reference book even as late as Linné ' (Printing and the mind of man). The 'Thierbuch' combines Gesner's two books on quadrupeds, the viviparous and oviparous, first published in Latin in 1551 and 1554 respectively. These were translated into German by Conrad Forer (d. 1594); a few chapters were translated by Johannes Herold. Forer was a Swiss physician who became later a parson in the city of Winterthur. He corresponded with Gessner and wrote a botanical treatise in which he attempted to devise a new system of plant classification' (Wellisch). The illustrations are the first original zoological illustrations and the first naturalistic representations of animals to be published. As such they herald the birth of zoological book illustration. They are the archetypes of much subsequent animal illustrations, even into the 18th century. The woodcuts were cut after paintings by Lukas Schan, some of which survive as part of the Felix Platter collection in the Basle University Library. The German editions contain a further 24 woodcuts which appear here for the first time. The 'Vogelbuch', Gesner's history of birds, is an abridged translation of the 1555 Latin edition by Rudolf Heusslein, a Swiss physician. The woodcuts are the second important suite of ornithological iconography, being contemporary with those of Belon published the same year. They are the precursors of many of Aldrovandi's illustrations, many of which were copied from Gesner. The 'Fischbuch' was translated from the 1558 Latin edition by Conrad Forer. The woodcuts form the fourth great series of ichthyological illustrations, after Belon (1551), Rondelet (1554) and Salviani (1554), but are also the first general series of marine illustrations (including conchology), not confined to fish. Wellisch 23/24.4; 25.5; 26.6; Nissen IVB 350 and ZBI 1552, 1555 (with erroneous collations); VD16 G1728; G1734; G1741.
Item nr. 9756
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