1540 Seminarium et Plantarium Fructiferarum by Charles Estienne. Agriculture


1540 Seminarium et Plantarium Fructiferarum; a second edition (expanded from the 1st) of Charles Estienne's work on nursery and fruit trees. This work would later be inserted into Estienne's Praedium Rusticum, forming a large part of that work, which for centuries was immensely popular as a guide to planting and cultivating (better known as the title L'agriculture et Maison Rustique).

This work is planted firmly in the Renaissance. The author, Charles Estienne, was the third son of the important and prominent early printer Henry Estienne. Charles was engaged in the pursuit of science and, two years after this publication (1542), he became a doctor; he is best known for his medical contributions.

Yet, in 1554, he returned to agriculture, producing the Praedium Rusticum, which incorporated this present work, along with other works on agriculture (including some not his own), to become a guide to Renaissance-era farmers hopeful to use the Renaissance advances in science to increase their productivity.

But Charles' story also incorporates the turmoil of the Renaissance; his brother absconded from Paris, deserting Catholicism and the family printing press, causing Charles to return to take over the family business and (supposedly) die penniless after his time at the press.

About the Work -

This work is mainly for nursery and fruit trees. The title, roughly translated, states:

Nursery and Fruit Plantation, especially of the trees which are usually planted behind gardens, again increased and enriched, to this (edition) came another pamphlet on the planting of trees in the nursery, and of their transfer and transplanting into the nursery.

On page 63 is the first mention of Corbiel peaches according to Leroy (specific to this 1540 edition).

While the renaissance was in full swing, older theories do make their way in. There are passages about planting by the moon, inspired by astrology (see page 134 for an example).

About the Binding -

This binding style is known as a palimpsest; a parchment, with writing, was partially cleaned and re-purposed for the binding. But, the writing remains in a ghostly state. I'm not sure the writing was cleaned. It appears to be on the other side, and covered by the endpapers. Using a flashlight I find several references to a "John Stay(te?)". Further investigation could be fun and interesting. The attached image is mirrored.

Bibliographic Details -

Two entries in the Universal Short Title Catalogue, found in 17 of the world's libraries. USTC #s 88497 and 147898. The only copy recorded in the U.S. is at Harvard.

Pettegree, Walsby, Wilkinson - 18626

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 17.5 x 11.5 x 1.5 cm. Limp vellum binding with yapp edges and leather ties (fresh binding). Printer's mark at title page.

Pages - 193, [21] -index, 1 - colophon, 1 - blank

Collation - N8, O4 (index begins halfway down N1, colophon is recto of O4; verso is blank)

Condition -

See pictures. Modern binding with a little wear; the parchment used had a crease, so there is a crease across the boards. Someone erased bookseller notes on the endpaper. Top corner is dog-eared at endpaper and seems a little bumped for a handful of leaves. Another erasure at top edge of title page. Deckled edge at bottom of title page. Some toning throughout, with occasional fox spot. Some thumbing to title page. Title page with underline and note in pencil under sub-title. Occasional thumb throughout. Worm hole at fore-edge pages 60-125, small. 131 dog-eared. 141 with 1 cm hole in fore-edge margin. Rear index with a moisture mark throughout. Also, hint of a moisture mark at very bottom edge throughout.

Shipping from United States

Processing time

1-3 business days

Customs and import taxes

Buyers are responsible for any customs and import taxes that may apply. I'm not responsible for delays due to customs.

Payment Options

Secure options
  • Accepts Etsy gift cards

Returns & Exchanges

I gladly accept returns

Just contact me within: 7 days of delivery

Ship items back to me within: 14 days of delivery

I don't accept exchanges or cancellations

But please contact me if you have any problems with your order.

Conditions of return

Buyers are responsible for return shipping costs. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the buyer is responsible for any loss in value.

Privacy policy

We do not collect any private information. For billing, Etsy provides the service. We only receive notice that payment was made. The shipping address is provided to us by Etsy, based on what they buyer submitted during check-out. We do not store these addresses. That is the extent of the information that we receive during a transaction.

Legal imprint