The Herball

London: Printed by Adam Islip, Joice Norton and Richard Whitakers. 1636.

Third edition. Folio. 340x225mm. pp. [40], 30, 29-30, 29-402, 373-1630, [48]. [72]. Illustrated throughout with woodcuts. Engraved title page by John Payne. Bound by C. Kalthoeber (label on verso of front free endpaper) in "russia extra" with a border of continuous "drawer-handle" design in blind. Inside this is a gilt double fillet enclosing a further, smaller "drawer-handle" design. At the corners of the outer border are the Beckford and Hamilton crests, this book having been in the collection of William Beckford who used two crests, a heron's head with a fish in its beak (the Beckford crest) and an oak tree with a saw which was the Hamilton crest, his younger daughter having married the Duke of Hamilton. Rebacked with original spine laid down. Spine decorated in gilt and blind and lettered in gilt to the second compartment. Turn-ins decorated with a Greek key pattern in gilt. All edges gilt. Front pastedown has armorial bookplate of Archibald Philip Earl of Rosebery. On the verso of the front free endpaper is a manuscript note in Rosebery's hand which reads "R. Beckford Sale. Lot 115" and the Sotheby's catalogue entry from the Beckford sale is pasted onto the front pastedown. This copy was sold in the "Second Portion" of the Beckford Library on 11th December 1882. Joints and corners strengthened and repaired. Slight bumping and rubbing to corners and some marks to lower cover but otherwise a very good copy. Internally near fine save for an old stain on G2. John Gerard first published his Herball in 1597 and although it was a success, it was regarded as not entirely accurate. After Gerard's death in 1612, Thomas Johnson set about revising the work. 1633 saw the first appearance of his "enlarged and amended" edition which included Plantin's much improved woodcuts. This is a particularly nice copy, bound by one of the great German emigre binders and with a superb provenance.

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