Bay (Laurel) Tree Woodcut. Mattioli, 1554.

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First Latin edition,1554

A leaf from Mattioli’s edition of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides with woodcuts of bay and plane trees.

Pietro Andrea Mattioli (b. Siena, Italy, 1501; d. Trento, Italy, 1577), was the most successful botanical writer in 16th century Europe.  His chief claim to fame was his edition of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides  Many other writers had sought to edit the Materia Medica but none had been as successful as this Sienese physician.

His emphasis on the importance of Italy’s contribution to botany ensured that when Italian universities, such as Pisa and Ferrara, set up lectureships and botanical gardens and were looking for a suitable textbook, it was to Mattioli’s edition of Dioscorides that they turned. Mattioli’s Latin text became the set textbook for the new courses on botany at Italian universities.

Mattioli’s vibrant illustrations ensured that his text did not go out of fashion and it was still being reprinted in the eighteenth century.

Recto: Text in Greek and Latin printed in greek, roman regular and italic fonts on watermarked, laid rag paper. Heading, marginal notes and paginationA woodcut of Laurus (Laurel, or Bay Tree).

Verso:  As Recto, with a woodcut of Platanus. (Plane tree).

Printer:  Vincenzo Valgrisi, Venice, 1554

Title:  Commentarii in libros sex Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei, de medica materia.

Condition: This leaf is in very good/excellent condition with just slight marks and soiling in the margins.   Full margins, a clear watermark and sharply printed woodcuts. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Notes:  Pedanius Dioscorides (c. 40–90 AD) was a Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author of De materia medica (On Medical Material), a 5-volume encyclopaedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.

Laurus nobilis is an aromatic evergreen tree or large shrub.  It is native to the Mediterranean region and its leaves are used for seasoning in cooking. Its common names include bay tree, bay laurel, sweet bay, true laurel, Grecian laurel, or simply laurel. Laurus nobilis figures prominently in classical Greco-Roman culture.

Size: Leaf: approx. 310x210mm.

References: EDIT 16, CNCE 37627; Adams D 655; Nissen, BBI 1305; Hunt 94 Anm.; Durling 3008.

Item No: PSE105

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