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PAULLI, Simon (1603–1680)

Flora Danica. Det er: Dansk Urtebog: udi huilcken ... icke alleeniste Urternis Historiske Beskrifvelse, Krafter oc Virckninger, med zijrligste Figurer andragis: Men endocsaa Lægedomme til alle Siugdomme gafnlige, korteligen oc klarligen antegnis: Saa at den er baade en Urtebog oc Lægebog.
Kiøbenhafn, Melchiore Martzan, 1648.

First edition of the first illustrated herbal in Scandinavia. The atlas part with 384 full-page woodcuts of plants was printed on better paper at the Plantin press in Antwerp, who had a large stock of woodblocks of plants, all of which had been used in other works printed by Plantin, e.g. the herbals of Clusius, Dodonæus and Lobelius, except for two woodcuts depicting Cochlearia. The Danish printers had neither the facilities nor experience for such an enterprise at that time. Paulli’s Flora Danica is one of the major works within Danish botanical literature and one of the finest books printed in Denmark in the first half of the seventeenth century. It is arranged according to the seasons and, besides descriptions of plants includes information on their synonyms and medicinal properties. More a practitioner than a theoretician, he recommended the use of simple medication. There is a description of the Digitalis, and two woodcuts of the tobacco plant, the latter described on no less than 21 pages of text. Upon order of the king Paulli later wrote a separate treatise on tobacco and tea, which would dissuade the people from using these “drugs”. The indices give the name of the plants in Latin, German and Danish. Linnaeus frequently quotes Paulli in his writings. The frontispiece shows Flora with a view of Copenhagen in the background (it was later used as frontispiece to the first Danish pharmacopoeia, with the text in the shield, Flora Danica, replaced by Dispensatorium Hafniense (1658). The fine portrait of Paulli, inserted in most of his books, was engraved after the painting by Karel von Mander. The plate representing Spring probably depicts Princess Leonora Christina, daughter of Christian IV, to whom the book is dedicated. The plate of Autumn shows Paulli’s wife and their son Holger.

Collation: Pp (18), (482), (48) index; Atlas: pp 393, (3). Sign.: A-4Z4, 5F2, a-m4; Atlas: A-3E4 3D2. Final leaf with Plantin’s device. Atlas with four separate titles, one for each season, all with an identical woodcut floral border, and 384 full-page woodcuts of plants. Engraved frontispiece, engraved portrait of the author, and 4 allegorical plates in the text section, representing the four seasons, all engraved by Albert Hælwegh.

Binding: Contemporary vellum. Red morocoo spine label with bold gilt lettering.

Provenance: Zacharias Strandberg's (1712–1792) donation book plate on verso of the frontispeice and his own book plate inside front cover. Zacharias Strandberg was assessor of Collegium Medicum, and city-physician in Stockholm. His book plate (copper by Gillberg) was inserted in the books he donated (D.D. = Dono Dedit.) to Collegium Medicum.

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