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Ferrante Imperato
IMPERATO, Ferrante.

IMPERATO, Ferrante.
(c1550 - c1631)

(Born: Naples, Italy, c1550; Died: Naples, Italy, c1631) Italian naturalist & pharmacist.

Little is known of Imperato's life. He owned a prosperous pharmacy in Naples, and founded the botanical gardens of city. Imperato also corresponded with many of the famous naturalists of the time, including Aldrovandi, Bauhin, Clusius, Mattioli. His son, Franceso, a lawyer, inherited the collections. His numerous travels in southern Italy allowed him to collect many mineral exemplary, vegetables and animals, and to make many detailed observations on geological outcrops.

Biographical references: ABI: I 535, 100-112. Accordi, B., "Ferrante Imperato (Napoli, 1550-1625) e il suo contributo alla storia della geolgia", Geologica Roma, 20, (1980), 43-56, 6 figs. Biographie Universelle. Capellini, G., "Cenni storici sulla paleontologia e geologia," Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia, 7 (1901), 89-103. Columella Onorati, N., "Biografia di Imperato", Biografia degli uomini illustri del Regno di Napoli, 8, (1822). Cortesi, F., "Alcuen lettere inedite di Ferrane Imperato", Annali di Botanica, 6, (1908), 121-30. Hunt Portrait Catalog: 189. Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51. Lambrecht & Quenstedt, Catalogus, 1938: 218. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). Neviani, A., "Ferrate Imperato, speziale e naturalista Napoletano, con documenti inediti", Atti e Mem. Acc. Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria, Memorie, Roma, Series 2, 2, 57-74, 124-145, 199-210 & 243-267. Sarjeant, Geologists, 1980: 2, 1369 & Suppl. 1 (1987), 1, 521. WBI. World Who's Who in Science: 855.

Dell'Historia Natvrale, 1599

1. Italian, 1599 [First edition].
Dell'Historia | Natvrale | Di Ferrante Imperato | Napolitano. | Libri XXVIII. | Nella Qvale Ordinatamente Si Tratta | della diuersa condition di miniere, e pietre. | Con alcune historie di Piante, & Animali; | sin'hora non date in luce. | Con Privilegio. | [ornament] | In Napoli, | [rule] | Nella Stamparia ą Porta Reale. MDIC. | Per Costantino Vitale.

2°: a2 b6 c4 A-Z6 2A-2Z6 3A-3V6 (B2 missigned B3); 408l.; [24], [1]-791, [1] p., 126 woodcuts in text, double-page woodcut frontispiece. Pages 229-234 omitted in numbering; pages 249-254 repeated in numbering. Page size: 295 x 204 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs], Dedication.; [Folding frontispiece].; [18 pgs], "Svmmario Et Indice."; [2 pgs], "Ferrante Imperato | A Gli Lettori."; [1]-791, Text.; [1 pg], Blank.

Very scarce. A highly interesting and splendidly illustrated publication dealing with natural history, including botany, mineralogy, metallurgy, mining, zoology, etc. The dedication is to Juan Fernįndez de Velasco, duque de Frķas. In his address to the reader, Imperato names Niccolņ Antonio Stigliola as having consulted on the text. Thorndike believes Stigliola to be the actual author. On the question of authorship see V. Placcius, Theatrum anonymorum et pseudonymorum, 2 (Hamburg, 1708), p. 379, no. 1430. See also Murray, D. (1904). There are 126 woodcuts in the text. These are of gems, plants, sea creatures, reptiles, and insects. Mortimer suggests Mario Cartaro as artist of these blocks. First edition printed in a small edition for friends of Imperato. The striking double-page frontispiece shows his magnificent library and museum, a vast collection of prepared animals (i.e., birds, fish, insects, and a huge crocodile fastened to the ceiling) and several shelves of books. The text woodcuts show plants, animals, minerals, etc.

Of further interest is the theory, introduced by Thorndike and based on two 17th century bibliogrpahies that the actual author of the book was not Imperato but Antonio Nicolo Stelliola (or Stigliola) [?????], friend and disciple of Galilei and author of the earliest treatises on the construction of the telescope (1627). For an excellent detailed description of the book with illustr see Ruth Mortimer, Harvard College Italian 16th Century Books II, 240, note NBG XXV, col 831.

Bibliographical references: Adams, Cambridge Books, 1967: I-184. Beekman, Systematische Mineralogie, 1906: 28-9. BMC: 2, 902. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 262. Hoover Collection: no. 440. LKG: III 35 & 36a. Mortimer Italian Books: no. 240. Murray, Museums, 1904: 1, 85. Nissen (ZBI): no. 1112. NUC: 265, 205 [NI 0041485]. Olmi, G., "Science-Honor-Metaphor: Italian cabinets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries", in: O. Impey & A. Macgregor, eds., The Origins of Museums. Oxford, 1985, 12-15. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturę Botanicę, 1871-3: no. 4433. Schröter's Journal für die Liebhaber: 2, 85. Wellcome Catalog (Books): 1, no. 3393. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 19, 36-8 & 214. Wood, Literature of Vertebrate Zoology, 1931: 398.

Historia Natvrale, 1672

2. Italian, 1672 [2nd edition].
[In red:] Historia | [in black:] Natvrale | [in red:] Di Ferrante Imperato | [in black:] Napolitano. | Nella qvale Ordinatamente | si tratta | [in red:] Della diuersa condition di Minere, Pietre pretiose, & | altre curiositą. Con varie Historie di Piante, | & Animali, fin'hora non date in luce. | [in black:] In questa Seconda Impressione aggiontoui da Gio: Maria Ferro | Spetiale alla Sanitą, alcune Annotationi alle | Piante nel Libro vigesimo ottauo. | [rule] | Dedicata All' Altezza Ser.ma | [in red:] Di Giovan Federico | [in black:] Dvca di Brvnsvvick, et Lvnenbvrg. | [vignette] | [in red:] Venetia | [in black, rule:] | Presto Combi, & La Noł. M. DC. LXXII. | Con licenza de' Superiori, e Priuilegio.

2°: [Cross]4 A-Z6 2A-2Z6 3A-3M6 a4; 356l.; [8], 1-696, [8] p., large engraved folding frontispiece of the mueum interior, 128 woodcuts in the text. Title in red and black. Page size: 326 x 220 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [2 pgs], "Serenissima | Altezza."; [2 pgs], "Ferrante Imperato | A' Lettori."-dated 1599.; [2 pgs], "Los Stampatore | A'Lettori"-signed Andrea Pisani & Battista Nani, 21 July 1670.; [Frontispiece].; 1-696, Text.; [7 pgs], "Indice | Dell' Istoria Natvrale | Di Ferrante | Imperato."; [1 pg], "Errata."

Plates: The frontispiece showing the museum's interior, as the wording at the bottom center within a scroll work, "Ritratto Del Mvseo Di | Ferrante Imperato."

Very scarce. Edited and enlarged in the plant section by Giovanni Maria Ferro [??-??]. The text is in 28 books and covers the entire range of natural history and related technologies from geology (five books) through hydralics, aerology, thermodynamics, metallurgy, zoology, and botany. The engraved frontispiece is a faithfully engraved reproduction of the original woodcut. The text woodcuts are mainly half and full page size and depict minerals, precious stones, plants, sea creatures, reptiles, and insects.

Bibliographical references: Accordi, B., "Ferrante Imperato (Napoli, 1550-1625) e il suo contributo alla storia della geolgia", Geologica Roma, 20, (1980), 43-56, 6 figs. BMC: 2, 902. Cobres, Delicię Cobresianę, 1782: 1, 165, no. 16. Edwards, Early History of Palęontology, 1976: p. ??. Hoover Collection: no. 440. Hunt Botanical Catalog: no. 321. LKG: III 35 & 36. Neviani, A., "Ferrate Imperato, speziale e naturalista Napoletano, con documenti inediti", Atti e Mem. Acc. Storia dell'Arte Sanitaria, Memorie, Roma, Series 2, 2, 57-74, 124-145, 199-210 & 243-267. NUC: 265, 205 [NI 0041486]. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturę Botanicę, 1871-3: no. 4433. Schröter's Journal für die Liebhaber: 2, 85. Ward & Carozzi, Geology Emerging, 1984: no. 1172. Wilson, History of Mineral Collecting, 1994: 19, 36-8 & 214.

3. Latin, 1695 [Translation, Colonię issue].
[In black:] Ferrandi Imperati | Neapolitani | [in red:] Historię | Naturalis | [in black:] | Libri XXIIX. | Accesserunt nonnullę | Johannis Marię Ferro | [in red:] Adnotationes | [in black:] Ad | Librum Vigesimum Octavum. | [in red:] Nunc primum ex Italica in lingvam con- | [in black:] versa Latinam. | Cum Indice Locupletissimo. | [rule] | Colonię, | [in red:] Sumptibus Philippi Gothofredi Saurmanni, | [in black:] Bibliopol. Bremensis. | [rule] | Anno M DC XCV.

8°: )o(4 A-Z4 2A-2Z4 3A-3Z4 4A-4Z4 5A-5Z4 6A-6O4; 480l.; [8], [1]-928, [24] p., 136 woodcuts, of which 67 are full-page. Title in red and black.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1 pg], "Ferrandus Imperatus | Lectoribus."; [2 pg], "Typographus Italę | Editionis Lectoribus."; [3 pgs], "Series Librorum | HuJus | Operis."; [1]-928, Text.; [23 pgs], "Index | Rerum Et Verborum."; [1 pg], Blank.

Very scarce. Translation of Historia Natvrale (2nd ed., Venetia, 1672). This issue does not contain the double page plate of the museum interior. The text begins with Imperato's letter to the reader followed by the translator's preface and a table of contents. The text is presented, and an index concludes the work. It is identical, except for the title page to the Lipsię issue of the same year.

Bibliographical references: BMC: 2, 902. LKG: III 35 & 36a. NUC: 265, 205 [NI 0041487]. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturę Botanicę, 1871-3: no. 4433.

4. Latin, 1695 [Translation, Lipsię issue].
[In black:] Ferrandi Imperati | Neapolitani | [in red:] Historię | Naturalis | [in black:] | Libri XXIIX. | Accesserunt nonnullę | Johannis Marię Ferro | [in red:] Adnotationes | [in black:] Ad | Librum Vigesimum Octavum. | [in red:] Nunc primum ex Italica in lingvam con- | [in black:] versa Latinam. | Cum Indice Locupletissimo. | [rule] | Lipsię, | [in red:] Sumptibus Philippi Gothofredi Saurmanni, | [in black:] Bibliopol. Bremensis. | [rule] | Anno M DC XCV.

8°: )o(4 A-Z4 2A-2Z4 3A-3Z4 4A-4Z4 5A-5Z4 6A-6O4; 480l.; [8], [1]-928, [24] p., 136 woodcuts, of which 67 are full-page. Title in red and black. Page size: 200 x 158 mm.

Contents: [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [1 pg], "Ferrandus Imperatus | Lectoribus."; [2 pg], "Typographus Italę | Editionis Lectoribus."; [3 pg], "Series Librorum | HuJus | Operis."; [1]-928, Text.; [23 pgs], "Index | Rerum Et Verborum."; [1 pg], Blank.

Very scarce. Translation of Historia Natvrale (2nd ed., Venetia, 1672). This issue does not contain the double page plate of the museum interior. The text begins with Imperato's letter to the reader followed by the translator's preface and a table of contents. The text is presented, and an index concludes the work. It is identical, except for the title page to the Colonię issue of the same year.

Bibliographical references: NUC [no copy listed]. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturę Botanicę, 1871-3: no. 4433.

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