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A natural history pattern book from the seventeenth century
Frankfurt 1580 - Oblong booklet of 44 illustrated leaves measuring 204 x 183 mm., many being woodcut patterns with printed pedagogic captions in several languages (namely Latin, German, English and French); some loss (principally marginal) affecting approximately half the leaves, the whole book repaired and laid down in the eighteenth century; old vellum, worn and stained, recently rebacked by a competent binder. Intriguing and original natural history pattern book, being a composite of leaves from several early publications of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with very early handcolouring and a smattering of irreverent manuscript notations.This book of original hand painted woodcuts presents birds, beasts, insects and flowers compiled for use as an educational aid during the seventeenth-centur. It has several bold ownership inscriptions on the vellum covers including "William Park Anno. Dom 1660" and "Philip Pease his booke 1669". The hand colouring is charming and original and the book was clearly repaired during the eighteenth century, and during this process the plates were laid down. Much used by many hands, the inside of the vellum covers have been used by students to practise the spelling of difficult words including "Plantaganett". Other manuscript notations appear throughout the book, from mundane details such as "Ms. Wards over against the blew bord in German Street in St. James Fields" to more flamboyant statements (one plate of grubs is inscribed in a concise seventeenth century hand "You must not call thoes things raw cunts thats Bawday they are caterpillars").The woodcuts are principally sourced from a later sixteenth-century edition of Egenolff's Herbaum, arborum, fruticum?animalium (first published 1546), bound with leaves from another unidentified book of reptile and invertebrate designs of the early seventeenth century. In comprises 19 pages of animals (birds, reptiles and mammals), 22 pages of flowers, 9 pages of insects and a single leaf of frogs.Quite possibly unique, this is an idiosyncratic and appealing book, with much to be discovered about its history.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-08-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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