210 unnumbered leaves (of 212, lacking two of three final blanks). Gothic type, 35 lines. Fine eight-line penwork initial in blue and red on first leaf, each book opened by a penwork initial in green and red, with extensions, numerous initials painted in red in text, many with extensions in preliminary leaves, rubricated throughout; frequently annotated in three different hands, the earliest annotating German names of plants and fruits quoted in the work; upper blank margin of first leaf partially restored, not affecting text but slightly encroaching on wisps of the red extension to initial, occasional finger-soiling and light foxing...
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Full-page woodcut armorial device on verso of title, one woodcut in the text, & woodcut initials & decorations. Largely printed in black letter. 11 p.l. (several preliminary leaves misbound at end), 193,  leaves. Small 4to, cont. limp vellum (wrinkled & somewhat soiled, minor & mostly marginal worming to misbound leaves, minor dampstaining), ties gone. London: Printed by R. Watkins, 1577.
First edition in English, translated by Barnabe Googe (1540-94). This work, first published in Latin in Cologne in 1570, was extremely popular. Written in the form of a dialogue, the book takes an imaginary visitor through the countryman’s house, and shows him his farm, stables, garden...
Ink, brush, & color wash in various colors, gold speckles on edges and endpapers, silk brocade endpapers. Japan: early 19th-century.
The equestrian sport of polo, or in Japanese dakyu, is believed to have originated in Central Asia and then spread both to Europe and became “polo,” as well as to China and subsequently Japan through the Korean peninsula in the 8th or 9th centuries. In the Nara and Heian periods, the court at the Imperial Palace played dakyu, most notably on the Boys’ Day Festival (tango) of 5 May.
While dakyu’s popularity declined during the Kamakura period, it experienced a resurgence under the reign of Yoshimune Tokugawa (1684-1751), who adopted the game as a form of exercise for cavalry warfare. At this time, it evolved into a recreation closer to lacrosse in which they scooped rather than struck the ball with a gittcho (polo cane). This scroll vividly depicts the Yamagata or Imperial style of play, employing shorter canes and smaller balls, and with both teams shooting at a single goal.
Fine frontis. port. of the author. xvi, 450,  pp., one leaf of errata. Large 4to, cont. calf, double gilt fillet round sides, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: Printed by J. Hughs, 1757.
First edition, and a lovely copy, of one of the 18th-century classics of English husbandry. Lisle (1666?-1722), who lived at Crux-Easton in Hampshire and had estates in Wiltshire and in the Isle of Wight, assiduously gathered information from the leading farmers of all aspects of husbandry. While not an innovator but an intelligent and careful observer, he later added comments based on his own experience. Thomas Lisle, the...
19th-cent. russia, sides panelled in gilt & blind, gilt arms in center of the Pelham-Clinton family. Italy, perhaps Tuscany: early 15th century.
A fine manuscript, from the celebrated library of the dukes of Newcastle in Clumber, of this important fourth-century Roman treatise on agriculture. It enjoyed wide popularity in the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, owing to its clear arrangement, with the farming and gardening tasks subdivided according to the twelve months of the year. It “was clearly more useful than that of any of Palladius’ predecessors. This fact alone may explain the preservation of his text and its popularity compared...
Woodcut device on title. Largely printed in black letter.  pp. Small 4to, early 20th-cent. calf (stains to the first six leaves, upper edge trimmed touching the first two words of title & headlines of several other leaves), triple gilt fillet round sides, a.e.g. London: J. Kyngston for M. Hennynges, 1580.
Second edition in English (first edition, in French: 1569; first edition in English: 1577), of this notable work: it presents the first business plan published in France. The work was very influential, with many French editions, two English editions, and a German edition of 1615.
The author, Prudent le Choyselast (1530-ca. 1577), a former soldier and royal prosecutor of Sézanne in Champagne, was familiar with the devastation of the French rural economy caused by the religious wars. In this book, Prudent proposes to an impoverished friend that he create a poultry-farming company to regain his lost fortune. The friend could raise hens and roosters and sell the eggs and excess chickens in Paris. Prudent presents the concept of management and a way of calculating the profitability of the planned company in a modern style. While not the first to include “profit” in the title, Prudent goes further than any other writer of the time in emphasizing the importance of the return on investment. He considers the necessary initial cash outlay, costs of feeding the chickens and the transport of the eggs to market, managing labor and logistics, price fluctuations, etc.
1 p.l., 20 pp. Small 4to, attractive half-calf & marbled boards, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, several lower edges uncut. London: S. & B. G[riffin] for N. Brooke, 1671.
First edition and a nice copy. This work has been attributed by many to Sir John Pettus (ca. 1613-85), natural philosopher and politician, but this is probably erroneous. Sainfoin is a highly nutritious plant, which served as an important forage for livestock.
“A most interesting little book…whoever wrote it knew what he was talking about, and had evidently made himself thoroughly acquainted with the peculiarities and value of the plant as...
Title within ruled border. 1 p.l., 20 pp., one blank leaf. Small 4to, attractive antique calf, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: S. & B. G[riffin] for N. Brooke, 1674.
Second edition. This work has been attributed by many to Sir John Pettus (ca. 1613-85), natural philosopher and politician, but this is probably erroneous. Sainfoin is a highly nutritious plant, which served as an important forage for livestock.
“A most interesting little book…whoever wrote it knew what he was talking about, and had evidently made himself thoroughly acquainted with the peculiarities and value of the plant as a farmer’s...
Modern brown morocco (a few small wormholes, occasionally touching a few letters, more pronounced in the final leaf). [England: early 14th century].
An important early 14th-century manuscript of Walter of Henley’s Husbandry, the most widely read of several notable treatises on agriculture that survive from mid- or late 13th-century England. This manuscript exhibits notable differences from other surviving examples (see below).
Little is known of Walter of Henley (fl. 1260). “From what the treatise says of estate administration at a time when methods were changing, it seems likely that it was written in the 1250s or 1260s. It is...