Herbarius Patavie impressus anno domi[ni] &cetera. lxxxv
Passau, Johann Petri, 1485
4 unn.l., CL num.l., 20 unn.l. including one blank. Green morocco in the style of Bozerian, spine gilt with double raised bands, inlaid with red morocco, gilt edges.
GW, X, 2000, n° 12270 ; BMC II, 616 ; CIBN, H-33 ; Goff, H-64 ; Hunger, Early Herbals, 1951, n° 6 ; Plesch, Mille et un livres botaniques, 1973, p. 255 ; Murray, Early German Books I, n° 191 ; Klebs, Incunabula scientifica et medica, 1938, n° 506.6 ; Anderson, An Illustrated History of the Herbals, 1977, pp. 82-88.

First of three editions of the Passau Herbarius, and the first dated book from the press of Johann Petri at Passau (the second printer of that city). Illustrated with 150 half-page woodcuts of plants coloured by a contemporary hand.

The text is an almost unaltered reprint of the first edition, printed by Peter Schoeffer in Mainz in 1484, with the woodcuts copied in reverse. The Herbarius Latinus was the prototype for all later fifteenth-century herbals and the most popular herbal of the incunable period. Strictly medieval in its text, derived largely from Vincent de Beauvais’s Speculum naturale and arranged in alphabetical order of plant name, and in the simplicity of its schematic woodcut illustrations, the Herbarius was intended to address the needs of laymen who lacked access to physicians. The 96 chapters of parts 2-7 treat the classic materia medica, including animal and mineral products as well as fruits, spices, gums and resins. Thirteen fifteenth-century editions are recorded of this text. In Petri’s editions “the text and the arrangement are identical with Schoeffer’s edition. Only the German names of plants are sometimes spelt differently on account of the varying dialects, and sometimes they are quite different, a fact which gives a special interest to this edition” (Klebs).

A wonderful illustrated incunable with 150 half-page woodcuts of plants coloured by a contemporary hand.

Some leaves short in the upper margin but a very good copy.