WOODVILLE, William. Medical Botany, Containing Systematic And General Descriptions, With Plates, Of All The Medicinal Plants, Indigenous And Exotic.

 London, James Phillips, 1790-93.


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, 4 volumes in two (the original 3 volumes plus Supplement, dated 1794). Title page for each volume. 274 full-page plates by the artist and engraver James Sowerby, some hand-coloured (ca. 30). Vol. 1: preface, catalogue, pp. 1-182, index, pls. 1-65; Vol. 2: catalogue, pp. 183-368, index, pls. 66-135; Vol. 3: pp. 369-460, 459-578, index, Dr Cullen’s arrangement in diagram of the general table of medical matter, and catalogue, pls. 136-210; Supplement: pp. 1-169, index, and general plant index, pls. 211-274. Woodville, a London physician, was elected to the Linnaean Society in 1791. His medical botany and research on smallpox vaccinations were his major contributions to science. Text and plates fresh, crisp and clean. Only occasional spotting to margins. Bound in later half calf and buckram over boards, gilt title to spine. Skilfully rebacked. An excellent copy.

“William Woodville (1752-1805) graduated at the University of Edinburgh in Medicine in 1775. A few years later he settled in London and in 1791 was elected physician to the Smallpox Hospital at Battle Bridge, St. Pancras. Around this hospital were grounds of four acres, two of which Woodville made into a botanical garden which he maintained at his own expense. Woodville was a close personal friend of the noted physician John Coakley Lettsom who, also, had a love of botany, and was the owner of Grove Hill, Camberwell, celebrated for its garden. Both men were Quakers, and both were on the Council of the Medical Society of London which had been founded by Lettsom in 1773. Besides being the author of Medical botany Woodville was responsible for Volume 1 of a History of inoculation (1796), of which no further volumes were published owing to the discovery by Edward Jenner of the efficacy of vaccination from cow-pox.” Henrey, p. 32.

Henrey 1521 and 1522.