Leiden, Pieter van der Aa, and Utrecht, François Halma, 1696. Folio (39.5 x 25.4 cm). Half title [ Aardgewassen], engraved frontispiece title [ Aard-Gewassen] with full page allegorical engraving Rerum Magistra by Goeree and engraved by I. Baptist; second title page with full title in red and black, and engraved vignette Cultior his vita est, half title to second part; 563 pp. [(xxxiv), 465 (with 930 numbered columns), (lxiv)]; 245 engraved plates (on 243 sheets). Chapters with beautiful large, engraved allegorical head and tail pieces. Contemporary blind-tooled vellum. Spine with seven raised bands and burgundy morocco label with intrinsic gilt borders and gilt title. Front and rear with blind-ruled borders and center arabesque.
This herbal is the magnum opus of the Dutch botanist and director of the Groningen Hortus Botanicus, Abraham Munting (1626-1683). Published posthumously. This is the only Dutch edition. In 1702 a Latin version Phytographia curiosa with a much reduced text (merely an atlas), was issued and reprinted in 1713. Munting visited the universities of Franeker, Utrecht and Leiden, and went to France in 1649. In 1651 he returned to Groningen. After his father's death in 1658 he took over his famous botanical garden, known as "Groenings paradijs" (The Paradise of Groningen). In 1672 he published his Waare oeffening der planten; a second edition appeared in 1682. Finally, in 1696 a considerably enlarged edition was published as Nauwkeurige beschryving der aardgewassen. Compared with the Waare oeffening, this work contains many addition exotic plants, chiefly from the Americas and Asia. The predecessor had only 40 plates. The title words "meer dan 250 afbeeldingen" (more than 250 illustrations) is correct, as most of the 245 plates show a single plant, but several show more than one plant, for a total of 262 different plants. Plate numbering is intricate and confusing. Several inaccuracies in the index and/or plate numbers should be noted (index number last): 138 as 139; 157 as 158; the third 314 as 214; 345 as 346; 376 as 377; the third 614 as 613; 645 as 464; whereas the third 287 is numbered as second 286, the second 690 as 693, and the second 692 should be 694. 726-728 are on a single plate, as are 804-805. A more complex error in the index is that Cyclamen angulosum autumnale flore albo is captioned as Cyclamen hederaceum angulosum flore albo, and listed separately from Cyclamen vernum minus flore albo, (and with a different plate number), whereas in reality they are both on one plate. Most descriptions mention only one combined plate, apparently because of copying other records rather than checking facts. A complete collation gives 245 plates on 243 leaves, as in this copy. Binding firm. Boards rubbed, at hinge-edges and a bit more so at the corners, with the signs of over 300 years of mild wear. Inscribed on the front pastedown in an old hand (A. M. van Limmik - perhaps the Amsterdam Philanthropist Anna Maria van Limmik [1830-1904]), a few annotations in (probably the same) old hand. Internally an occasional spot; some small repairs to the last two text leaves and last blank. Small hole in text leaf 597-600 (column numbers) affecting a few letters. Two pairs of small, rounded holes (for clasps or thongs) in the boards fore-margin. In all a fine, wonderfully well-preserved and complete copy. Stafleu and Cowan "regret to have to leave out the books of this author out of account for reasons of space...". Nissen BBI, 1428; Pritzel, 6556.