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Lot 0013
Crescentiis (Petrus de) Ruralia commoda, collation: A8 B-Q6 R8 S-Z6 a-b6 j4, 158 leaves (complete with blank b6), text in 2 columns, 53 lines, type: 13:80G, 19:155G, 313 woodcuts in text, a few coloured by a contemporary hand, German names for plants described in an early hand in margins and near woodcuts, woodcuts numbered also in an early hand, some foxing, stains and soiling, final leaf with a couple of minor repairs, modern limp vellum with green silk ties (1 lacking), spine lettered in black, folio (262 x 185mm.), Speyer, Peter Drach, [c.1490-95].

⁂ The rare first illustrated edition of Crescenzi's popular work, enhanced with over 300 woodcuts. One of the most attractive illustrated 15th-century books on natural history, and "its text and numerous cuts are a wonderful storehouse of country lore" (A. M. Hind, An Introduction to a History of Woodcut, p. 347).

The edition was issued anonymously, without indication of printer, place and date, but the printing is assigned to Peter Drach, and generally dated to between 1490 and 1495. The Speyer printer also published (1st October 1493) the first translation into German of the Ruralia commoda, illustrating the text with the same woodblocks. The fine vignettes are in different sizes and depict husbandry and hunting scenes, plants, animals, and rightly famous are the woodcuts depicting winemaking. A group of illustrations shows the re-use of the woodblocks executed by the so-called 'Hausbuchmeister' for one of the most famous illustrated German books of the incunable age, the Spiegel menschlicher Behaltnis (Speculum humanae salvationis), likewise printed by Drach in 1496.

Provenance: Rothamsted acquisition date 1922

Literature: ISTC ic00969000; HCR 5826; GW 7825; BMC II 499; Bod-inc C-482; IGI 3265; Goff C-969; Klebs 310.6; Nissen BBI, 421; Simon Bibliotheca Bacchica, 36; Great Flower Books, p. 83.

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Crescentiis (Petrus de) Ruralia commoda, first

Estimate £20,000 - £30,000
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Auction Curated By:
Rupert Powell
International Head of Books and Works on Paper
Justin Phillips
Early and Continental Printing
220 Queenstown Road
London, SW8 4LP
United Kingdom
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