The First Printing in English of the First Book on Cuttings and Grafting

A PHILOSOPHICAL TREATISE OF HUSBANDRY AND GARDENING: BEING A NEW METHOD OF CULTIVATING AND INCREASING ALL SORTS OF TREES, SHRUBS, AND FLOWERS.

(London: Printed for P. Vaillant in the Strand, and W. Mears and F. Clay without Temple-Bar, 1721). 290 x 226 mm. (11 7/8 x 8 3/4"). 12 p.l., 300 pp., [2] leaves (index). Edited and with a preface by Richard Bradley, F. R. S. Translated from "High-Dutch" [i.e., German]. First Edition in English.

Recent calf-backed marbled boards, raised bands, red morocco label. WITH 33 ENGRAVED PLATES of agricultural practices (numbered I-XXXI, with the numbers XXIII and XXVIII used twice each) printed on 12 folding sheets and nine leaves. Title printed in red and black. Henrey II, 443-46 & III, 41; Hunt II, 452; ESTC T42266. Leaves a little yellowed or slightly browned at edges, one folding plate with small light stains touching corner of image frame, other insignificant defects, but an excellent copy internally nevertheless--clean, fresh, and well margined, with fine impressions of the engravings--and in a pleasant new binding.

First published in German in 1716, this is an extremely important book in the history of gardening as the "first treatise on cuttings and graftings." (Hunt) Regensburg physician and avid gardener Georg Andreas Agricola (1672-1738) developed a new method of propagating plants, by grafting twigs to roots of the same specimen and sealing the attachment with a turpentine and pitch plaster he christened "vegetable mummy." He explains the process here, adding "many Useful Secrets in Nature, for helping the Vegetation of Trees and Plants, and for fertilizing the most Stubborn Soils," as the extended title says. The plates here, reproduced from the German first edition, illustrate the steps in his procedure. A popular work from the moment it was issued, the text was soon translated into French (1720), Dutch (1719), and this English edition, and it made its author famous. His propagation technique was used by fruit growers for years. Editor Richard Bradley (1688?-1732) was appointed the first professor of botany at the University of Cambridge in 1724, and published collections of his lectures on practical botany and materia medica.
(ST15736b)