(London: Printed by Tho. Cotes, 1640). 358 x 235 mm. (14 x 9 1/2"). 10 p.l., 1755 (i.e. 1743) pp, 1 (errata) leaf. FIRST EDITION.
VERY APPEALING CONTEMPORARY CALF, sides simply ruled in blind, spine very densely and handsomely gilt in compartments with four distinctive mirrored semicircles of massed floral tools, the remainder of the compartments with similar, even denser, massed tools and in some cases large gilt circles, morocco label, later end papers. ELABORATE ENGRAVED TITLE PAGE AND MORE THAN 2,700 WOODCUTS OF BOTANICAL SPECIES IN THE TEXT. 17th c. signature of Jonathan Jackson and 18th c. signature of Jonathan Knowles in top margin of title page. Very bottom on spine worn away, with edge of text block partially exposed, raised bands and head of spine somewhat rubbed, with small superficial cracks in half a dozen places, corners a little bent and covers somewhat marked, but an entirely sound, beautifully decorated, and generally very attractive contemporary binding with joints only slightly rubbed. Title pages neatly reattached and a bit soiled, a few paper flaws resulting in slight loss of blank corners, a dozen trivial rust or wormholes, one leaf with 2 1/2" chip out of fore edge (up to, but not touching, text), one contemporary note in ink in lower right margin, last few leaves of index darkened (five of these leaves with small holes in fore margin), final two leaves neatly backed, a few other minor flaws; nevertheless, quite excellent internally and in relative terms especially fine, with good margins and particularly clean and crisp leaves. AN EXTREMELY WELL-PRESERVED COPY of a large and heavy book that is almost always found ravaged and defective from heavy use.
This is a particularly agreeable copy of one of the most important botanical books in English, perhaps the last great herbal published in England that had as its motive the seeking of a wider understanding of plants as a way toward the advancement of medicine. John Parkinson (1567-1650) was a practicing apothecary with a private botanical garden when he was appointed apothecary to James I. After the publication of his first book, "Paradisi in Sole," he was named "Botanicus Regius Primarius" by Charles I. The present work contains Parkinson's own descriptions and observations as well as those of his predecessors on nearly 3,800 species of plants (as compared to 2,850 in Johnson's Gerard of 1633). The work "remained the most complete English treatise on the subject until the time of Ray." (DNB). (CDT1718)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST 7.021