Verona: Apud Angelum Tamum, 1622.
Folio: 29.7 x 21 cm. , 746 pp. Collation: π2,  engraved title page, [†]6, *6, a-b4, c2, A-N4, N2, P-Z4, Aa-Dd4, Dd4, Ff-Ss4, Tt2, Vu-Zz4, Aaa-Zzz4, Aaaa-Zzzz, Aaaaa4, Bbbbb6. With an added folding plate. Complete.
With a printed half-title: “Musaeum Calceolarianum Veronense”, a fine, historiated, engraved title page, and a folding engraving showing the interior of Calzolari’s museum. The text is illustrated with 43 engravings of animals, plants, minerals, and ethnographic objects. There is also a profusion of woodcut initials throughout the text. The plates were designed by the Verona artist G.B. Bertoni and engraved by the goldsmith and engraver Girolamo Viscardi.
An exceptional copy, printed on heavy paper and with very broad margins, bound in later stiff parchment, end-papers renewed. The text is in excellent condition with light, inoffensive marginal foxing, occ. light soiling, and some very minor blemishes. Half-title lightly foxed and strengthened in the gutter. The folding engraving of the Wunderkammer is in fine, crisp condition, with a very short split at one fold, no loss. Wonderful. The best copy I have seen.
This is the first complete and first illustrated catalogue of the museum collection assembled by the apothecary Francesco Calzolari (1522-1609) and later augmented by his nephew of the same name (b ca. 1585). Calzolari competed (and collaborated) with colleagues and rival collectors, including Ulisse Aldrovandi in Bologna and Michele Mercati in Rome. His collection was one of the earliest private natural history collections. This comprehensive catalogue was written by the Veronese physicians Benedetto Ceruti and Andrea Chiocco.
“Ceruti and Chiocco's catalog preserve a record of the museum at its height. The exhibit room is beautifully illustrated in the folding frontispiece. It shows a room lined with nicely-crafted open shelves above a series of drawers at waist level. Underneath the drawers are stored various urns and vases, while stuffed birds rest on top of the shelves. From the ceiling are hung numerous preserved animals, including snakes, fish, lizards, and a porcupine. The strength of the collection lay in the numerous botanical and mineralogical specimens, some of which are illustrated on the finely engraved plates. Within the section on minerals and fossils is the first publication of the idea, proposed by Girolamo Fracastoro in 1517, that fossils originated from living animals, their creation being caused by the changing positions of land and sea. The catalog ends with a description of the library and gallery of paintings of famous doctors, botanists, philosophers, and mathematicians. In the 1640's the collection was sold off, part going to a Veronese pharmacist named Mario Sala, and part being acquired by Lodovico Moscardo and incorporated into his own large collection.”(Schuh)
Like Aldrovandi’s botanical garden at the University of Bologna, Calzolari’s museum “constituted a practical work of reference for physicians, pharmacists and botanists”, allowing students of the natural sciences the opportunity to observe and experiment with natural objects firsthand. “The close, organic links between the museum and Calzolari’s pharmacy are clearly delineated; it was as a result of the interdependence of the two that the museum took on the appearance and function of an actual laboratory and a well-furnished medical repository.”(Giuseppe Olmi)
“After studying under the naturalist Luca Ghini [d. 1556], Calzolari went on to the University of Padua where he learned the preparation of pharmaceutical prescriptions using various plant, animal, and mineral substances. He was an excellent student, and eventually left school to open in the main square of Verona his own shop, called ‘The Golden Bell.’”( Schuh, “Mineralogy and Crystallography: An Annotated Biobibliography”)
“Calzolari’s career took off when, rather exceptionally for an artisan, he decided to audit Luca Ghini’s (1496–1556) lectures on materia medica at Bologna in the 1550s… It was here that Calzolari met Ulisse Aldrovandi. Aldrovandi was instrumental in furthering Calzolari’s learning, recommending new publications on res herbaria, and in strengthening his scholarly standing, introducing him to key figures like Pietro Andrea Mattioli. Calzolari continued to build his profile by making regular trips from his Veronese pharmacy to the new botanical gardens at the universities of Padua, Bologna and Pisa, and befriending their keepers, Luigi Anguillara and Melchiorre Guilandino… [He also went on expeditions to find specimens.] In Calzolari’s words: ‘I devoted my life to searching the true simples across mountains, and plains, valleys and shores.’(Pugliano)
“In order to stock his shop with raw materials, Calzolari would walk the mountains and valleys of the surrounding area in order to collect plants, minerals and animals. Soon he was driven by a fascination with natural history, and he worked through dealers and travelers to acquire all sorts of herbs, fruits, animals, birds, minerals and fossils from throughout Europe and Asia Minor. These specimens he added to a growing collection displayed in a special room at the rear of his pharmaceutical shop. Contemporary accounts indicate that a detailed label accompanied each specimen. As the nature of Calzolari's museum became known, a steady stream of physicians, naturalists, friends, and curiosity seekers began to visit. Eventually the fame of ‘The Golden Bell’ spread throughout Europe, and it became a site to visit when traveling through Verona.”(Schuh)
Calzolari's collection was partially described in 1584 by Giovanni Battista Oliva of Cremona. Oliva’s description was printed in a slim, unillustrated volume, but it was Calzolari’s nephew and heir Francesco who commissioned the authoritative catalogue of the collection, written by Ceruti and Chiocco and illustrated with fine copperplate engravings.
“The museum was divided into several sections: (1) corals, (2) clays and earths, (3) crystal-lined geodes, amethyst, fluorite, diamond, opal, cat's-eye, emerald, topaz, malachite, jasper, beryl, sapphire, lapis lazuli, turquoise, ruby, garnet, chalcedony, sardonyx, carnelian, agate, magnetite, hematite, dolomite, gypsum, and some fossils, (4) gold, silver, cinnabar, copper, and iron minerals, antimony minerals, coal, talc, alum, cassiterite and others, (5) the herbarium, and (6) preserved animals, birds and snakes, including a supposed horn of a unicorn.”(Schuh)
Apothecaries as Natural Historians:
“Apothecaries – those makers and retailers of remedies active in most European towns – constituted the second largest group of enthusiasts of early modern natural history after physicians and students of medicine… IMasters in the manipulation of flora and fauna, both local and remote, they were perfectly situated intermediaries who could open up the world of natural materials to the scrutiny of a new generation of curiosi. The craft of pharmacy, in turn, contributed material skills essential to the practice of natural history, from techniques of specimen preservation and transportation to the training of the senses for fieldwork. Crucially, pharmacy also facilitated the study of nature locally in neighbourhoods and towns, providing a unique site where scientific interests could be explored collectively and without the hierarchical rigidities of other places of learning: the shop.
“Pharmacy, in other words, provided many of the practical tools to implement that new discourse of empiricism and learning by getting one’s hands dirty, which became associated with natural history and its study of particulars. Apothecaries actively contributed to this discourse. Rather than go-betweens, many became fullfledged participants in natural history. If some remain anonymous to this day, others, like Francesco Calzolari of Verona or Ferrante Imperato of Naples, achieved fame in their lifetime for their fieldwork and ownership of the largest museums of naturalia in Europe. They were the period’s most distinguished naturalists, alongside Conrad Gessner, Pietro Andrea Mattioli, Carolus Clusius, Joachim Camerarius, the Bauhin brothers and Ulisse Aldrovandi…
“[The pharmacy shop was] probably the greatest asset that botanically minded apothecaries had to offer to natural history, and they could also draw upon it in pursuit of their own natural historical studies. Though generally overlooked by scholars of today, the shop was both a crucial hub for an urban science based on collaboration and conviviality, and a resource for pursuing natural history. Here, would-be virtuosi congregated weekly with a variety of individuals, especially physicians and apothecaries, but also customers and passers-by. Some shared their interest in nature, others were indifferent to it, but had knowledge and contacts to offer, or simply some gossip to pass the time…
“For aspiring local naturalists, the shop’s appeal lay in offering at once an archive of naturalia, a testing room with useful equipment, and a meeting place where like-minded individuals could discuss flora and fauna. Inspecting the stock was the core activity, encouraged by the masters, who increasingly began to create specimen collections on the side. Naturalists started to include pharmacies in their travels, often on the recommendation of other virtuosi. The Veronese physician Gian Battista Olivi observed of Calzolari’s museum, housed above his shop: ‘in this theatre we can inspect, examine, and smell many things worthy of notice’. This unveiling of specimens was preceded, accompanied and followed by comparisons between their appearance and written descriptions, and discussions of their healing properties and the etymology of their names. While naturalists with extensive contacts conducted many of these conversations via letter, seeking opinions from far and wide, apothecaries and local virtuosi held them in the pharmacy. There they continued the shop habit of leisurely discussion, debating natural history alongside other topics, more serendipitously and fragmentarily but no less effectively than on paper.
“The shop provided raw materials, and room to examine them, for enthusiasts who lacked the resources to build a microcosm of nature like Aldrovandi’s. In Naples, for example, Fabio Colonna used Imperato’s collection of plants and fossils for his studies. The availability of equipment and the active operation of the pharmacy where remedies were prepared variously by baking, boiling, grinding, distilling and oxidating, and with the aid of furnaces, chopping tables, pestles and mortars – made it a space that could be adapted more conveniently than an oak-panelled study to host demonstrations of compounding drugs, or extravagant and potentially messy experiments. Tests on the inflammability of asbestos, by setting fire to its ‘ropes’, drew in regular audiences in Calzolari and Imperato’s shops during the 1570s.
“Reading was also a shared activity in the shop… In 1554, the Veronese noble Gentile della Torre entered Calzolari’s shop to deliver a gift to the apothecary, a herbarium sent by Luca Ghini, and spent the afternoon there ‘to see the plants together with messer Francesco’… To an extent, there is a case to be made for seeing the pharmacy as a pedagogical site, performing a role like that of the university in introducing potential virtuosi to the field, yet far more socially inclusive than the latter. Trainee apothecaries had access to the master’s books and drawings ofmateriamedica, and could profit from his contacts and from the conversations held within the shop. In Venice there is evidence of multigenerational botanical pharmacies, like the Doctor, the Bell, and the Ostrich, where an interest in res herbaria was passed on from master to apprentice.”(Pugliano, Natural history in the apothecary’s shop, in “Worlds of Natural History”, p. 44-60).
Fahy, Printing a book at Verona in 1622 : the account book of Francesco Calzolari Junior (1993); Wellcome I, 1412; Krivatsy 2341; Nissen, ZBI 857; BM, Italian Books I, p.217; Jammes (Delpire, “Cabinets de curiosités: collections: collectionneurs”. Librairie Paul Jammes, 1997), 75; Grinke, From Wunderkammer to Museum, no. 22; Further reading: Daston & Park, Wonders, 1998: p. 154. Edwards, Early History of Palæontology, 1976: 43; Murray, Museums: Their History and Use, Vol. I pp. 83-4 & Vol II. P. 154; Sinkankas 1216; Thorndike, VIII, pp. 4-5; Accordi, The Musaeum Calceolarianum of Verona, Geologica Romana 16, 21-54