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Theatrum botanicum: The theater of plantes. Or, an herball of a large extent ...
London: Thomas Cotes Folio (35.3 cm, 13.9"). Add. engr. t.-p., [18], 1755 (i.e., 1745), [3] pp.; illus.. 1640 First edition: Over 3,000 species and their virtues described for the use of apothecaries and herbalists. Parkinson (1567–1650), who served officially as Royal Botanist to Charles I and unofficially as gardening mentor to his queen, Henrietta Maria, was also one of the founders of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries — to which the allegorical frontispiece here may refer with the rhinoceros in its upper portion. The author of Paradisi in sole paradisus terrestris, Parkinson was much acclaimed by his contemporaries and by later botanists; Henrey cites Sir James Edward Smith's assessment that "this work [the Theatrum botanicum] and the herbal of Gerarde were the two main pillars of botany in England till the time of Ray." Gerard and Parkinson indeed competed in publication, with the printing of the present work having been delayed several years so as to avoid marketplace clash with Johnson's edition of Gerard's herbal. In the present work, Parkinson divided the plants by classes such as "Sweete smelling Plants," "Purging Plants," saxifrages, wound herbs, cooling herbs, "Strange and Outlandish Plants," etc. Most of the entries are illustrated with in-text woodcuts, interspersed with pages wholly occupied by four images. Among the Americana content here are descriptions of Virginia bluebells, Peruvian mechacan, potatoes, and an assortment of "Ginny peppers" (with dire warnings regarding their fiery hotness); also present are => 28 previously unrecorded British species, including the strawberry tree and the lady's slipper orchid. The index and tables are organized by Latin name, English name, and medicinal property. Provenance: Front pastedown with John Ruskin's Brantwood ex-libris, and with bookplate of American zoologist Charles Atwood Kofoid; additional engraved title-page with inked inscription "Ex bibliotheca Mathiae Lynen, Londini," dated 1641. A cheque drawn on Prescott Dinsdale Cave Tugwell & Co. by Joanna Ruskin Severn on Ruskin's behalf is tipped in. Contemporary speckled calf framed in blind double fillets, spine with gilt-stamped red leather title-label; much worn with front joint open, hinges (inside) reinforced with linen tape, old refurbishments including shellacking. Front pastedown and engraved title-page reinforced, the latter by attachments to endpaper and title-page; preface leaf partly separated; first and last leaves generally tattered and a few others with marginal paper flaws, one affecting a few letters and a small portion of one image. Occasional marginal tears, one just touching text; three small ink spots to one leaf, touching two images, else scattered spots only; one spread with ink blot (possibly printer's) obscuring portions of five words. Some corners bumped, and index leaves creased with three partly split along creases; final table leaf and errata leaf with old repairs costing a few words. Some pagination erratic and pp. 845–48 laid in, supplied from a smaller-margined copy; front free endpaper with pencilled annotations regarding this copy. A worn and pored-over yet respectable copy of this important 17th-century herbal, with => nice English and American provenance suggesting who did some of the poring.
      [Bookseller: Philadelphia Rare Books & Manuscripts Co]
Last Found On: 2016-03-19           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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