(London: Printed by Adam Islip, Joice Norton, and Richard Whitakers, 1633). 355 x 230 mm. (14 x 9"). , 1634 (wrongly numbered 1630),  pp. (collates as ESTC copy). Title page and Gggg4 supplied in facsimile; lacking final leaf (entries X-Z in "Table of Vertues" [sic]). First Edition of Johnson's Revision.
Recent period-style panelled calf, raised bands, red morocco label. Title page with border of vignettes (one a portrait of Gerard), decorative and historiated headpieces and initials, and 2,766 WOODCUTS OF PLANTS IN THE TEXT. Foot of second leaf recto with owner signature of Michael Coxe dated 1749, verso with pencilled notation "This was Michael Coxe's Book from whose [illegible]; occasional early ink marginalia or neat underlining. Hunt 223; Nissen 698; STC 11751; Brunet II, 1548 ("édition . . . préférable"); ESTC S122165. Second and third leaves with repairs to head and upper fore-edge margin (trivial loss to headpiece and a shoulder note), second leaf mounted on stub, leaf 7A1 with three-inch internal tear repaired (text slightly affected), 10 leaves at the end a bit browned and wrinkled and with small portions of the margin neatly reinforced, occasional minor smudges or stains and other insignificant defects, but the entirety of the text and its illustrations surprisingly fresh and clean, and with very wide margins; not without problems, but, by and large, an appealing copy in a pleasing unworn sympathetic binding.
This is the preferred edition of one of the most famous herbals ever published in England. The work made the barber-surgeon and horticulturist Gerard (1545-1612) famous when it was first published in 1597, and it was still being used in botany classes as late as the end of the 18th century. Gerard based the work on experience in his own substantial gardens and as superintendent of several others in and near London, including various properties owned by William Cecil, first Baron Burghley, whose gardens were famous for their variety of plants and trees. Henrey says, notwithstanding claims that Gerard's great work was more than a little derivative, he "contributed greatly towards the advancement of the knowledge of plants in England, and in his 'Herball' described and illustrated several hundreds of . . . native plants, including about 182 which were additional to those recorded in earlier works." In 1632, the successors of Gerard's first publisher commissioned Thomas Johnson (d. 1644), a well-known apothecary and botanist, to prepare a second edition. He did this so well and added so much (a valuable comprehensive historical introduction as well as half again as many woodcuts) that most people think of our first edition of Johnson's revision as a first printing. Johnson "corrected many of Gerard's more gullible errors, and improved the accuracy of the illustrations by using Plantin's woodcuts." (Hunt) Arber says that "the 'Herball,' thus transformed, reached a far higher level than Gerard's own edition." While this copy lacks the final leaf of the index and has two leaves in facsimile, its condition is in other ways quite attractive, and its agreeable price is meant to reflect its pros and cons. (ST15356)
Add to Cart Price: $3,750.00
PJP Catalog: ABAAvfMay20.025