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Historiae Animalium

Historiae Animalium

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Historiae Animalium: LIber II: De quadrupedibus oviparis; LIber III: De avium natura

by Conrad Gessner

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  • Hardcover
  • first
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About This Item

Two complete volumes of the most important Renaissance study of zoology in Latin.

Volume 2, Oviparous Quadrupeds including reptiles and amphibia, and Volume 3, Birds, bound together in one.

With a total of 2 title vignettes and 241 woodcuts, many full-page, credited to Lucas Schan.

Historiae Animalium LIber II: De quadrupedibus oviparis, second edition, Frankfurt, Johann Wechel for Robert Cambier, 1586. 4 ff., 119 pp. with 19 woodcuts.

Historiae Animalium LIber III: De avium natura, first edition, Frankfurt, Johann Wechel for Robert Cambier, 1585. 6 ff., 806 pp. with 222 woodcuts, 13 ff.

The majority of the bird illustrations are believed to be by Lucas Schan, active 1526-58, a natural history artist and wildfowler of Strasbourg.

The woodcut of the Pica Bresillica, or toucan, is "based on a beak sent to Gessner by Giovanni Ferrerio, and the rest of the body was reconstructed from Thevet's Les singularitez de la France antarctique. " The lesser bird of paradise may have been drawn from a specimen "on sale in Nuremberg for 800 talers." (S. Kusukawa, The sources of Gessner's pictures for the Historia animalium)

Volumes 2 and 3 of the most important zoological work of the Renaissance, "an encyclopedia of contemporary knowledge, intended to replace not only medieval compilations but even Aristotle's work of the same title." Taking its name from Aristotle's work on animals and following his classification, it compiles research from Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, Claudius Aelianus, and others with Gessner's own observations and studies.

Conrad Gessner (or Konrad Gesner), 1516-1565, was a Swiss polymath, physician, natural historian, writer, illustrator and philologist. In addition to his magnum opus on zoology, Historiae animalium 1551-1558, he also published a Greek Latin dictionary Lexicon Graeco-Latinum 1537, the first history of bibliography, Bibliotheca universalis 1545, and studies of botany Historia plantarum and entomology Insectorum (published posthumously). He died of plague at the age of 49.

Rebound in half black leather, five raised bands and gilt title on spine, black cloth boards. A few text pages with underlines and notes in ink. Interior clean and bright with slight even age-toning to the paper, scattered spots, but with good sharp impressions of the woodcuts.


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Florilegius JP (JP)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Historiae Animalium
Conrad Gessner
Conrad Gessner, Lucas Schan
Half leather and cloth boards
Book Condition
Used - Very Good
Jacket Condition
Quantity Available
Johann Wechel for Robert Cambier
Place of Publication
Date Published
119, 806
Folio, 36 x 24cm
0.00 lbs
Conrad Gessner, Lucas Schan, Konrad Gesner, Historiae animalium, zoology, natural history, woodcut, Renaissance, ornithology, birds, amphibia, reptiles, illustration, woodblock, engraving,
Bookseller catalogs
Natural History;
May be a multi-volume set and require additional postage.

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30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged.

About the Seller


Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2019
Tokyo, Tokyo

About Florilegius

Tokyo-based bookseller specializing in European illustrated books from the 18th to 19th century, mainly botanical, zoological, costume and travel. Also Japanese ukiyo-e and woodblock botanicals, flower arrangement, etc.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
Raised Band(s)
Raised bands refer to the ridges that protrude slightly from the spine on leather bound books. The bands are created in the...
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
First Edition
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