[ROBIN, Jean (1550-1629).] Histoire des plantes, nouvellement trouvees en l'isle Virgine et autres lieux, lesquelles ont este prises et cultivee au jardin de Monsieur Robin Arboriste du Roy. Paris: Guillaume Mace, 1620.

$ 16,000.00

16mo., (4 4/8 x 3 inches). Collation: A8. 16 pages. The title-page within a beautiful broad woodcut border decorated with exotic plants, birds, fish and animals, with 14 delicate woodcuts of flowering plants in the text (one headline closely shaved). 19th-century elegant maroon morocco gilt.  

"D'aller rechercher chez les plus curieux, ce que nature auroit pousse de plus beau, sur les tapisseries de la terre, te priant les tenir pour agreables, attendant que ie te pourrey contenter de quelque autre plus grande particularite selon ton merite" (Advertissement).  

"Explore the countries of exotic peoples, where nature has created the most beautiful things, on the tapistries of the earth, hoping that they will please you, at least until I can make you happy with a greater gift, which you deserve".

 Among the woodcuts, which are accompanied by brief descriptions of the characteristics of the plants and their origins, six are from the Americas:

"Maracocq Indica sive flos passionis", the Passion Flower, nine species of the genus Passiflora are native to the United States, and the text to accompany this beautiful woodcut notes that the plant also produces a fruit, ie the passionfruit;

"Narcissus Virginianus flore albo Rubicante" , the white daffodil of Virginia;

"Opuntia sine sicus Indiqua Minor", the Opuntia ficus-indica cactus, the accompanying text notes that it is from Spanish America, and is the host plant for the cochineal beetle;

"Narcissus Indicus rubro flore", possibly the Sprekelia or Jacobean lily, also known as the Aztec lily, native to Mexico;

"Lilium Canadance flore luteo punctato", possibly the Turk's cap lily, Lilium superbum, native to North America;

"Canna Indica flore rubro", a canna lily, all of which are descended from Canna indica which was imported from the East Indies, though it was of American origin, the lily is native to southern North America, the Caribbean, and South America.  

The other plants include a "Fortiliaria vulgaris flore purureo", or Fritillary, from Orleans;

"Tulipa serotina vario flore", an extraordinarily variegated tulip;

"Iris susiana", or the Mourning Iris;

"Ychnis Clachedonica flore multiplici miniato" imported from Germany in 1618;

"Hiacintus Indicus tuberosa & bulbosa Radice, odoratissimus", from the East Indies;

"Anemone Maximo polientos Calchedonica" from Constantinople;

"Corona Imperialis maior", from Persia;

and 'Satirium flore Cinericio Maculatum', which is described as being common in the foothills.  

This lovely little book also found with its own title, as here, in the 1620 edition of "L'Histoire des plantes" by Geoffroy Linocier (itself an adaptation of "Historia Plantarum" by Du Pinet).            

Jean Robin, was arguably the most famous botanist of his time, and he established one of the most beautiful gardens in Paris between the Louvre and St. Germain l'Auxerrois. There he naturalized many plants, some of them raised from seeds gathered in Virginia which he received in 1601. It is believed that the oldest tree in Paris, a Robinia pseudoacacia, or Black Locust, was planted by him shortly thereafter in the Square René Viviani-Montebello, where it still stands today.  Antoine du Pinet (d. 1584) condensed the work of the botanist P. A. Mattioli to produce one of the earliest pocket herbals.   'OF EXTREME RARITY' (Sabin). Besides the copies held by the Bibliotheque nationale and the British Library (both bound with Geofroy Linocier's 'Histoire des plantes aromatique'. Paris, 1619), only 12 other institutional copies can be identified. John Carter Brown II, p.149; Pritzel 7672; Rosenwald Collection (Library of Congress) 1378; Sabin 72042 (correcting the entry for 32014). Catalogued by Kate Hunter