GERARD, John. The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. Gathered by Iohn Gerarde of London Master in Chirurgerie, Very much Enlarged and Amended by Thomas Iohnson Citizen and Apothecarye of London

 London, Adam Islip Norton and Richard Whitakers, 1633.


Folio. Title-page, pp. (xxxvi) 1630 (xliv, i.e., 44 out of 48 original pages); missing initial blank and final blank (as usual) and two leaves at the end: 6z6 (from the “Table of English Names”, supplied with two leaves written in a late C18th or early 19th hand), 7b5 (the final leaf with errata). Engraved title-page laid down, lower outer corner torn, affecting the illustration only marginally. Mainly Roman and Italic letter, little Greek and Gothic, very sporadic Hebrew. Head- and tail-pieces, decorated initials (both historiated and floriated). More than 2500 beautiful and accurate botanical illustrations. Early owner’s autograph on verso of second leaf “Wilfrid Browne”. A few extensive tears without loss: 2×6, 3h3 (extensive), 3m6 (extensive but repaired with paper reinforces) and 5e3. Occasional ink spotting and candle burnings throughout, occasional age yellowing and wear to margins, otherwise in very good condition. A thoroughly used book that has remained surprisingly clean and functional. Rebound in modern brown skin over boards; spine in five compartments divided by double sewing support, with gilt-stamped title. Notwithstanding some flaws, a good copy of an important work in the history of botany.

Second edition, perhaps the best and most complete of all. A beautifully and fully engraved title-page by John Payne. This is Johnson’s enlarged version of the botanist’s major work, first published in 1597. The London apothecary Thomas Johnson (c.1595-1644) revised the original work, making it possible to distinguish his additions. This edition brought a new and more scholarly focus to Gerard’s Herball. Indeed, it was greatly esteemed and reprinted in 1636. It is extensively illustrated and Johnson drew several of the diagrams himself. The woodcuts included in the first edition were printed from wood-blocks obtained from Frankfurt, which had been used to illustrate the “Eicones plantarum” of Taberaemmontanus (1590). Johnson supplemented these with superior illustrations from the stock of Antwerp’s famous printer Plantin. “Gerard contributed greatly towards the advancement of the knowledge of plants in England, and in his Herball he described and illustrated several hundreds of our native flowering plants, including about 182 which were additional to those recorded in earlier works” (Henrey, p. 47).

Henrey 155; Nissen BBI 698; STC 11751.

GREW, Nehemiah

GREW, Nehemiah. The Anatomy of Plants with an Idea of Philosophical history of Plants. And Several Other Lectures, Read Before the Royal Society

London, W.Rawlins, 1682.


FIRST EDITION. Folio. 83 fine engraved plates, including 3 folding and two double-page and mounted on guards, woodcut headpieces and initials (numerous 7- and 9-line tall). Contemporary calf, rebacked, gilt spine in 7 compartments with raised bands, decorative panels on covers with external angular fleurons, single-fillet roll gilt along cover edges. Text-block Fore-edge marbled. Bookplate of “Hugh Cecil Earl of Lonsdale” on left pastedown. A fine copy.

Rare LARGE PAPER-ISSUE of the first complete edition of “Grew’s chief work which gained him the reputation of being one of the most distinguished scientists of the 17th century” (Hunt). “THE BIRTH OF MICROSCOPIC ANATOMY OF PLANTS” (Grolier Science). “This key work collected together all the botanical research that Grew had presented to the Royal Society during the previous decade. Grew was a conscious pioneer in a hitherto neglected area: as he put it in dedicating his “Comparative Anatomy of Trunks” to Charles II in 1675, ‘I may, without vanity, say thus much, That it was my fortune, to be the first that ever gave a Map of the Country’ (sig. A2v). It is on his findings in this area that his reputation as a scientist is chiefly based. His work was primarily marked by his brilliant observation and description of plants and their component parts; having begun by making observations using only the naked eye, Grew supplemented these with the use of a microscope under the tutelage of his colleague Hooke. His presentations to the society began in 1672-4 with the roots, branches, and trunks of plants, proceeding thereafter to their leaves, flowers, fruit, and seeds. In each area he was innovative, studying for the first time many features of plants that have since been taken for granted, such as their cell-like structure and the growth rings in wood, and deploying techniques which have since become commonplace, such as the use of transverse, radial, and tangential longitudinal sections to analyse the structure of stems and roots. He was also an innovator in the terminology he used to describe plants, first using such terms as ‘radicle’ or ‘parenchyma’, a word adapted from its use in animal anatomy by Francis Glisson” (DNB). Along with Marcello Malpighi, Grew is considered the founder of plant anatomy.

Grolier Science 43b; Henrey 162; Hunt 362; Nissen BBI 758; NLM/Krivatsy 4986; Norman 946; Pritzel 3557; Wellcome III, p.164. 


COMMELIN, Caspar. Horti Medici Amstelaedamensis Plantae Rariores et Exoticae

Leyden, Apud Fredericum Haringh, 1706.


FIRST EDITION. Large 4to, *4 A-F4, 48 full-page fine botanical engravings by P. Sluyter (Nos 23 and 24 misbound, inverted; Nos 35 and 36 reinforced with backing paper repairs at an early stage, without affecting the illustrations). Vignette on title page, a vase of flowers, and early inscription. Light age yellowing throughout. On verso of original marbled paper wrappers, to the left side of the book, ex libris of Scottish physician and botanist “John Hope MD” (FRSE FRS PRCPE, 1725-86). In 1784 Hope was elected as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (1784-6). Early purchase inscription dated Oct. 23(?) 1718 on top of left flyleaf, recto. Wide margins, probably never cut, quite worn and soiled at the beginning and end, without however affecting the text or images. With rare original wrappers of marbled paper bound in; rebound for protection in modern quarter calf and marbled paper over boards. A prestigious provenance;  clean and fresh leaves.

This work was intended as a supplement to the ‘Horti medici Amstelodamensis’, 1697-1701, by Commelin’s uncle. This work “documents the substantial introduction of Cape flora into Europe and includes the first descriptions and illustrations of a number of species, including many aloes” (De Belder, lot 81).

Nissen BBI 388, Pritzel 1836 and Stafleu & Cowan TL2 1185.