THEOPHRASTUS; BODAEUS À STAPEL, Johannes (ed.). De Historia plantarum libri decem.


Amsterdam: Hendrick Laurensz, 1644.

£ 8,500

FIRST EDITION edited by Joannes Bodaeus à Stapel. Folio (37 x 23 cm); 1187 pp. plus index un-paginated; double column, text in parallel Greek and Latin. With fine engraved pictorial title; numerous woodcut botanical illustrations in the text; woodcut decorative initials. Small wormhole trace at foot of first few ff., diminishing in size as proceeds; minor wormholes to upper margins on last few ff. Small tear at 3H5 within text, without loss. Contemporary vellum; spine in compartments and with later gilt filets, small black floral motifs and a green morocco label, inconspicuous restoration; covers with blind-stamped arabesque centre-pieces, lacking ties, and showing signs of cracking in joints on lower, upper cover, little stained and marked. An excellent copy.



As described by Hunt, this is ‘one of the best and most thoughtfully prepared of all the editions of Theophrastus.’

‘It is interesting not only because of the brilliance of the editing, but, curiously enough, to the American botanist as well, for involving in the discussion certain species from Virginia, other parts of the New World, and Asia. The illustrations of these plants have been largely overlooked in botanical history, because of their incidental presence in a work which might not be expected to contain anything of the sort. Some were merely borrowed from l’Ecluse or de Lobel, but others seem original in this work.’ (H.H. Bartlett in Fifty-five Rare Books, quoted by Hunt).


Richly illustrated edition in excellent condition.


Hunt 240.