Spectacular scenes with a spectacular wide margin

Stradanus, J. [J. van Straet]

Venationes ferarum, avium, piscium. Pugnae bestiariorum: & mutuae bestiarum.

Published [1600]
Item ID 77429

excl. VAT

[Antwerpen,] Philip Galle, [ca. 1600]. Oblong folio (27.4 x 35.5 cm). Engraved allegorical title-page; 21 engraved plates with engraved captions. Near contemporary blind quarter vellum over marbled boards.

A rare, unusually wide-margined copy; in fact, possibly the widest margins ever recorded. The amazingly detailed engravings depict fierce battles between men and "beasts", including elephants, lions, leopards, bears, wild oxen, crocodiles, etc. Some scenes are hunting scenes, one shows a Roman circus, with gladiators, three others feature large dragons. A few show bird-catching. The fine, lively scenes were engraved by Jan Collaert I (ca. 1530-1581), Karel van Mallery (1571-1635), and Cornelis Galle I (1576-1650), all after original drawings by Jan van der Straet, called Stradanus (1523-1605). This suite was reprinted several times, into the 19th century. This however, is a very early printing. A complete suite should contain 102 plates. This is the rare start, without interruptions, and arguably containing the most spectacular scenes (later plates deal with, e.g., silkworms). The date 1578, sometimes quoted, cannot be correct because Van Mallery, who contributed four plates, was only seven years old then. Some, mostly marginal fraying, and mostly very weak toning - far less than we have seen in other copies with much smaller margins. Generally in an excellent condition. Hollstein XI, p. 161; Nissen ZBI, 4012; Schwerdt II, 227-228.

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