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HILL, John

The British Herbal: an history of plants and trees, natives of Britain, cultivated for use, or raised for beauty.

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London, For T. Osborne and J. Shipton, 1756

The rare 'Royal' paper issue with original hand colour. One of the last major botanical works not to use the Linnaean system.

Dedicated to the Earl of Northumberland, the work has a fine allegorical frontispiece entitled 'The genius of health receiving the tributes of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, and delivering them to the British reader.' This was engraved by Henry Roberts after Samuel Wale, who also designed the title-page vignette. The engravings, whilst not being especially artistic, are all very clear and enable easy recognition of their subjects.

The British Herbal is of importance for being one of the first major botanical publications to appear after Linnaeus' Species Plantarum in 1753. 'A number of generic names used by earlier authors but suppressed by Linnaeus are retained here and thus restored to botanical nomenclature' (Henrey). Hill also criticizes Linnaeus for various errors, but always in a fair way.

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First edition. Folio (47.5 x 29.5 cm), iv, 533, [iii] pp., Royal paper issue with hand coloured plates, title printed in red and black with hand-coloured pictorial vignette, engraved hand-coloured allegorical frontispiece, dedication leaf with hand-coloured headpiece, 74 (of 75) hand-coloured engraved plates (lacks plate 38) by H. Roberts, R. Benning, Darley & Edwards, the author, and others, mostly after drawings by the author, some light old damp-staining marks running through first third of book, generally a good clean example, contemporary russia, sometime rebacked with tan morocco, corners worn, some edge wear, covers scuffed.


Dunthorne 128; Hill, 799; Hunt, 557; Nissen 881; Pritzel 4063; Rohde p222.

Stock ID:103886

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