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Metallotheca Opus Posthumum, auctoritate, & munificentia Clementis undecimi pontificis maximi e tenebris in lucem eductum; opera autem, & studio Ioannis Mariae Lancisii archiatri pontificii illustratum.
Rome: ex officina Joannis Mariae Salvioni Romani in Archigymnasio Sapientiae, 1717. 1st Edition. Hardcover. Folio - over 12 - 15" tall. Folio (376 x 253 mm). [8], xiii-lxiv, 378, [18] pp., including half-title, title printed in red and black, engraved frontispiece, engraved portrait of Mercati (bound after p.xx), 6 engraved plates (2 double-page mounted on stubs, one additional engr. title), 139 text engravings (some full-page), title vignette, 2 engraved initials and one engraved tailpiece. Signatures: [a]4 b-h4 A-3B4 3C6. Restored contemporary calf, spine with 7 raised bands, rebacked with original gilt-decorated spine compartments and lettering-piece laid down (extremities rubbed, corners bumped, hinges partly cracked but firm), original marbled endpapers, new flyleaves, red-colored edges. Internally clean with only very minor occasional spotting to the end. An outstanding, bright and crisp copy. Collated complete. ----Hoover 581; Cobres p.17, n. 20; Sinkankas 4390; Ward & Carozzi 1541; DSB IX, p.309; Thorndike VI, 334: Wilson, Mineral Collecting, pp. 32-34. FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of the superb catalogue of the Vatican 'armaria', a series of cabinets with drawers which housed Mercati's fossils, marbles, ores, shells, earth samples, salts, alums, gums and resins; of particular interest to gemologists are the fine illustrations of lapis lazuli, jet, amber (including the absurd depiction of a frog encased in amber), precious coral, pearls, and nacre. "The collection reflects the state of knowledge extant at the time and therefore includes objects of presumed magical or medicinal virtue as well as those which are correctly identified and described. The plates can scarcely be equaled for fidelity to originals and the exquisite care employed in their engraving and printing" (Sinkankas). Mercati (1541-1593) directed the botanical garden of the Vatican and soon became famous for his scientific achievements. "As a naturalist Mercati's greatest interest lay in collecting minerals and fossils; this collection later formed the basis of the work that has made him famous: Metallotheca (Rome, 1717)" (DSB). The work existed only in manuscript at the time of Mercati's death, but it was prepared for publication by Givanni Maria Lancisi (1654-1720). In 1719 the work was reissued with a cancel title, a portrait of Lancisi added, and an appendix with most of Gaumier's plates in the main work re-engraved. Near Fine.
      [Bookseller: Milestones of Science Books]
Last Found On: 2017-03-03           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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