BRECHTEL, Christopherus Fabius, d.1622 ~ Nomenclatura pharmaceutica.
242 numbered leaves of pharmaceutical labels printed in red and black on one side only (rectos and versos) in large Gothic type with 5 leaves in smaller Roman types, preceded by 4 preliminary leaves (title, introduction and contents page). Title page printed in red and black with double line borders. 20.3 x 31.9 cms, contemporary full green vellum over pasteboards, tooled in gilt with the arms of Ferdinand Hoffman on the upper cover, yapp edges, two triple tooled borders of unstained vellum, with gilt fleurons in the corners and an ornamented gilt border, spine similarly tooled with gilt fleurons in each panel, and-lettered in the top panel, edges sprinkled in red and blue and painted with red, blue and yellow lines, modern green linen and slipcase with green morocco spine lettered in gilt. Some repair in the gutter of the title-page, lacking silk ties, a little fading and scratching to the binding but generally a very good, clean copy.
The book comprises pages with printed labels giving the Latin names of all the substances to be found in an apothecary’s shop. They were intended to be cut out and pasted onto jars, drawers or other containers to ensure correct and uniform identification. As h states in his introduction, he hopes his work not only provides legible labels printed in large type but also correct and accurate nomenclature of all possible medical and chemical substances.
Among the dedicatees is Basilius Besler, the Nuremberg apothecary responsible for the celebrated florilegium the Hortus Eystettensis, published in 1613.
On the title page Brechtel refers to himself as a mathematician, it should be noted that he was also a calligrapher of some repute who published books on the art of writing. Legible and attractive printed labels are a natural, and presumably profitable, extension of his interest and skill in letterforms.
Our copy was bound for Baron Ferdinand Hoffman and bears his arms on the upper cover, his large full page booklabel, engraved by Lucas Kilian after M. Gondelach, is on the front pastedown. Hoffman (1540-1607) was Baron of Grunbuchel and Strechau, hereditary Steward of Steiermark and Grand Marshal of Austria, financial adviser to Rudolf II in Prague and an ardent bibliophile. By his death he had collected over 10,000 volumes, and the books he had bound were usually in this stained green vellum binding with his arms and similar tooling.
The Honeyman copy, later in the British Rail Pension Fund and last sold at Christie’s in 2001.