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ROBERG, Lars (1664-1742), preses, RUDBECK, Johan Olof (1711-1790), resp. [LINNÉ, Carl von (1707-1778)]

Dissertatio botanica de planta Sceptrum Carolinum . . .
Upsalis, literis Wernerianis, [1731].

BIBLIOGRAPHIA LINNAEANA NO. 1 (1731) – First edition, second issue enlarged with three more pages and with corrections and alterations in the text. The folding woodcut plate of the plant being the same as in Olof Rudbeck’s, the Younger, Nora Samolad (1701), is loosely inserted. The first issue seems to be almost introuvable. The title in this second issue begins with ”D. D.”, the vignette on page 1 has two ”C”:s laid crosswise below the royal crown surrounded by foliage (instead of aureole); the catchword on page 16 , ”§. XIV.”, is correct, page 17 mispaginated 71. The final six unnumbered pages with congratulations are additions to this issue, except for one page on recto of last leaf (verso blank), which is the same as the final page of the first issue. It has the same half-page woodcut with flowers and seed-cases with descriptive text above and Laur. von Bromell’s congratulations below, the latter reset. Although his name is not found on the title-page this is Linnaeus’ very first publication, Hulth: Bibliographia Linnaeana No. 1. – ”In June Linnaeus went with Celsius to Börje, near Uppsala, in pursuit of an uncommon and exciting plant – Sceptrum Carolinum (King Charles’s sceptre). This golden-yellow flower with a lion’s mouth and bloody under-lip had been named in 1701 by its discoverer, the younger Rudbeck, in honour of Karl XII, who had just won the battle of Narva. Unfortunately it was not in flower, but in the autumn, on a second expedition, they found it in seed; and on yet another occasion Linnaeus took Rudbeck’s youngest son, Johan Olof, to see it in order that he might write a dissertation on the subject. This dissertation was in fact composed by Linnaeus to earn a little money – a secret confession that he subsequently sadly noted on the back of the title-page but which he did not at the time betray: ”I have written this thesis in one day for 20 copper thalers - another has received the credit for it.” Linnaeus was later to list Sceptrum Carolinum as a separate species of Pedicularis, or lousewort – a name less flattering to the warrior-king.” (Wilfrid Blunt).

Collation: Pp (8), 17, (7). One botanical woodcut in the text and one large woocut plate 460 mm high. Copy printed on fine writing-paper.

Binding: Contemporary marbled spine strip.

References: Soulsby 1334; Hulth, Bibliographia Linnaeana (1907), No. 1; Johannes Rudbeck, Bibliographia Rudbeckiana (1903), 1341 (with collation and descriptions of both issues); Fries, Th. M. Linné (1908) ,Vol. I, p 69 (with the curious story in detail); Waller 11578 (second issue). Waller 11578 (second issue).

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