Antwerp: [Printed by Henry Loë and sold] at London by me Gerard Dewes, dwelling in Pawles Churchyarde at the Signe of the Swanne, 1578.
Folio: 30 x 19 cm. , 779,  p. Collation: *6, *6, A-Z6, Aa-Zz6, Aaa-Ggg6, Hhh-Iii4, Kkk-Xxx6, Yyy4
FIRST ENGLISH EDITION. The only illustrated English edition and the only one in folio.
A fine copy in eighteenth-century calf, very nicely re-backed; boards ruled in gold, minor wear to extremities, corners lightly bumped. Illustrated with more than 850 quarter-paged woodcuts of plants in the text. The title is framed by an elaborate woodcut border by Arnold Nicolai after Pierre van der Borcht, depicting mythical and historical figures associated with horticulture: Apollo, Asclepius, Artemisia, Gentius, Mithridates and Lysimachus. The large vignette at the foot of the title page shows Hercules slaying the Hydra at the gates of the Garden of the Hesperides. The full-paged woodcut coat-of-arms of the translator appears on the verso of the title page. A woodcut portrait of Dodoens appears after the dedicatory verses. The woodcut printer’s device of Henry Loë appears on the verso of the final leaf. Loë’s name does not appear in the imprint on the title page but the colophon states the names of both the printer and the publisher: “Imrinted [sic] at Antwerpe : By me Henry Loë bookeprinter, and are to be solde at London in Povvels Churchyarde by Gerard Devves.”.
A fine, complete copy of this scarce and early English herbal. The title page is finger soiled and slightly cropped at the outer margin, not affecting the woodcut or print. Text with some light toning and scattered minor marginal stains; small rust spots on two leaves, small paper flaw in outer margin of leaf Vv6. Soiling to final index leaves, two of which have marginal tears (two repaired at an early date); colophon leaf soiled and with a light crease. This copy with the word "Imrinted" in the colophon corrected by the printer to "Imprinted".
This is the first -and only illustrated- English edition of Rembert Dodoens' landmark herbal "Cruydeboeck", first printed in Flemish in 1554. The translator of this edition, Henry Lyte, prepared his English translation from Clusius’ French translation of 1557. There is evidence of 16th c. and later English ownership in the form of occasional marginal notes (cropped) and a few additions to the index ("Scurvie grass", "Smallache", "Spoon-wort")
Dodoens, along with Clusius and Lobel, was one of the three great Flemish botanists in the second half of the 16th century. "In 1554, Dodoens published a national herbarium devoted to species indigenous to the Flemish provinces. The merit of this book was that rather than proceeding by alphabetical order, as Fuchs had done, Dodoens grouped the plants according to their properties and their reciprocal affinities." (DSB)
Dodoens' work includes a number of New World plants, including the sunflower, common bean, flower-of-Peru (Nicandra physalodes), tomato, etc.
"At the end of the sixteenth-century the writings of the physician and botanist Rembert Dodoens (Malines 1517-Leyden 1585) exercised considerable influence in England. We are told by Meerbeck that Dodoens studied medicine at Louvain, and afterwards visited the universities and medical schools in France, Italy and Germany. He finally returned to his native city, and in 1548 was nominated town physician. Dodoens became renowned as a doctor not only in his native land but also other countries, and in 1574 he accepted an invitation from the Emperor Maximilian II to be court physician at Vienna. On the death of Maximilian he remained for a time with the new Emperor, Rudolf II. He received a Chair of Medicine at Leyden University in 1582.
"Dodoens wrote several botanical works, and was the author of a "Cruydeboeck", an herbal in Flemish. It was published in 1554 by Jan van der Loe of Antwerp, and was illustrated by 715 woodcuts of plants, many of which were copies from those in the octavo edition of Fuchs’ herbal. Charles de l’Ecluse (more commonly known as Clusius), another celebrated botanist from the Low Countries, translated the "Cruydeboeck" into French. This translation, which appeared in 1557 under the title of "Histoire des plantes", also came from the press of van der Loe of Antwerp. Many of the same woodcuts were used, with the addition of some new figures which were probably drawn by the artist Pierre van der Borcht, to whom further reference will be made.
"In 1578 there appeared Henry Lyte’s English translation of Clusius’ French version of Dodoens’ "Cruydeboeck". It is entitled "A Nievve herball" and is dedicated to Queen Elizabeth. It was printed by van der Loe of Antwerp, and sold by Garrat Dewes who practiced as a printer and bookseller in London from 1560 to 1591, in St. Paul’s Churchyard at the Sign of the Swan.
"The fine woodcut compartment surrounding the title is the same as that of the second Flemish edition (1563) and is signed with the initials P.B. and the monogram A, the former standing for Pierre van der Borcht, mentioned above, and the latter for Arnold Nicolai, who became one of Plantin’s chief engravers. The figures are the same as those used for the Flemish editions and the French version. A number of the figures are new and these were probably made from drawings by van der Borcht.
"The extremely pleasing portrait of the author with the inscription ‘Remberti Dodonaei aeta. XXXV’ had already appeared in the 1554 edition. The original wood-block is still preserved in the Museum Plantin-Moretus.
"Lyte prepared "A Nievve herball" with care. He compared ‘the last Douch copy’ with the French version, and in places made corrections and additions. Moreover, it appears that after Lyte had finished his work, Rembert Dodoens sent fresh material, which the English translator incorporated in his edition. Lyte’s own copy of the French version is now preserved in the British Museum. It contains numerous notes [and the inscription ‘Henry Lyte taught me to speake English.’]" (Henrey)
"Unlike most translators, Lyte was an amateur botanist who understood the material he was translating. He is credited with making significant corrections to the original text and accurately incorporating new material sent him by Dodoens during the course of his work. It is possible that Shakespeare consulted the ‘Niewe Herball’ for information regarding plant lore found in his plays. Edmund Spencer's references to flowers in his ‘Shepheardes Calendar’ may have been inspired by his seeing this herbal where Lyte describes, among others, the ‘gillofers and pinkes’.” (Patten Collection Catalogue).
STC 6984; Nissen, BBI 516; Pritzel 2345; Hunt 132; Henrey no. 110 and p.32-36; Van Meerbeeck p.273 ("cette traduction est très rare")