REDI, Francesco (1626-1697). Esperienze intorno a diverse cose naturali e particolarmente a quelle, che ci son portate dall'Indie. Florence: All' Insegna della Nave, 1671.
4to., (10 x 7 inches). Complete with first blank and half-title, title-page printed in red and black with engraved vignette of the Medici arms, 6 etched plates of botanical specimens, one wood-engraved initial and headpiece (some light browning and spotting, heavier at beginning and to 2 leaves of index, plate 6 printed upside down). 19th-century half vellum, green and red morocco lettering-pieces on the spine.
Provenance: from the library of Jean Bonna, with his discreet booklabel on the front paste-down, his sale Christie's 16th June 2015, lot 114
A FINE LARGE PAPER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, WITH FULL MARGINS: THE BOOK OFFERS FRANCESCO REDI'S SCIENTIFIC ANALYSIS OF BOTANICAL AND ZOOLOGICAL SPECIMENS BROUGHT BACK TO FLORENCE FROM THE AMERICAS AND ASIA BY MISSIONARIES.
Francesco Redi was an Italian scientist, physician, academician and poet, and a contemporary of Galileo. He is most famous for proving by a simple controlled experiment that spontaneous generation did not cause the growth of maggots in decaying meat, but that they emerged from eggs laid by flies.
The Esperienze... is written in the form of a letter to Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680), polymath and author of many books including "China monumentis, qua sacris qua profanis, nec non variis naturae & artis spectaculis" (Amsterdam: Joannem Janssonium & Elizeum Weyerstraet, 1667). Redi's work investigates "several botanical and zoological specimens, including some brought from India; among them were Chinese star anise, "stones" from cobra and iguanas, vanilla beans, and a leaf from the chinchona tree". (Hook & Norman). The Esperienze also contains the first scientific essay on the effects of nicotine.
The six plates include illustrations of natural curiosities that Redi has investigated the effects of:
Pietre del serpente Cobra de Cabelo - Cobra stones. By means of controlled experiments involving chickens, Redi refutes Kircher's experiments with his own into the medicinal use of stones imported into Italy by merchants and missionaries from India, China and Southeast Asia, pertaining to be concreted naturally in the heads of Cobras, and according to Kircher proven as useful as an antidote to poison.
Pepe di Ciapa - Pepper
Finocchio della'China - Star Anise
Pietra de'Serpenti di Mombazza - Mobasa snake stone. Redi argues that this stone, supposed to help in child birth, does not come from the head of a snake, but from the stomach of a Rhinoceros.
Pietre de' Serpenti Chiamati Iguane - Iguana stones
Radice della Manique and Radice di Gio. Lopez Pigneiro - various roots
Vainiglie o vero lobi lunghi aromatici del Clusio - Fogue dell' albero dell vainiglie - Semi neri delle vainiglie veduti colmigros copio - Fogue dell' albero dell vainiglie - Semi neri delle vainiglie veduti colmigros copio - Vanilla pods
Nidi delle Rondini della Coccincina nella loro natural grandezza - Swallows nests from Cochinchina
Foglio dell' albero della scorza chiamata chinachina - a leaf from the Chinachina tree
Frutto dell' albero chiamato araticu - fruit of the Araticu tree
Norman 1815; Sabin 68516; Prandi, Bibliografia delle opera di Francesco Redi, 16; Osler 3776; Soultrait, 17th century 278. Catalogued by Kate Hunter