1640; John Parkinson; First and Only Edition; London, Thomas Cotes; Folio Rebound Leather, Sizer Bindery; Profusely Illustrated; 20/1754 Pages; w9.3xh13.8"; Extremely Rare!
Folio cloth cover design with dark purple/maroon leather binding/corners, gold labeling to spine, with a brilliant vignette title page with numerous scenes, with 2,700 woodcut illustrations throughout, written in early modern English on handmade paper, and a Great Read; Some hand color plants in a small folded newspaper booklet!
His Theatrum Botanicum (The Botanical Theatre) described 3,800 plants and focused more on medicinal plants. It became the standard for English apothecaries for 100 years. He sought information and specimens from correspondents throughout the world and created a work based on observation and data collection rather than information based on older works.
It was the first work to describe 33 native plants, 13 of which grew near Parkinson's Middlesex home. Some of these plants, such as the Welsh poppy, the Strawberry Tree and the Lady's Slipper, were very common but had gone unnoticed or at least unrecorded.
William Marshall’s elaborate frontispiece for Theatrum Botanicum is divided into three registers. At the top and bottom, allegorical figures appear against a backdrop of fantastical garden imagery. The rhinoceros in the upper left may refer to the coat of arms of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries founded by John Parkinson in 1617. Parkinson, whose portrait appears at the bottom, also served on the Court of Assistants, the Society’s governing body. The fantastical garden imagery and the presence of Adam in the middle register, reflect Parkinson’s belief that the botanical world was an expression of divine creation and his conviction that through gardens, man could recapture something of Eden.
John Parkinson (1567–1650; buried 6 August 1650) was the last of the great English herbalists and one of the first of the great English botanists. He was apothecary to James I and a founding member of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in December 1617, and was later Royal Botanist to Charles I. He is known for two monumental works, Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris (Park-in-Sun's Terrestrial Paradise, 1629), which generally describes the proper cultivation of plants; and Theatrum Botanicum (The Botanical Theatre or Theatre of Plants, 1640), the most complete and beautifully presented English treatise on plants of its time. One of the most eminent gardeners of his day, he kept a botanical garden at Long Acre in Covent Garden, today close to Trafalgar Square, and maintained close relations with other important English and Continental botanists, herbalists and plantsmen.
Condition is Fair/Good. Would get rebound, wear to edges/boards/leather, London Library blind stamp to upper front corner leather, some wear to hinges, little glue at a few spots, London Library gold stamp/numbers to lower spine, London library bookplate to front inner board/small stamp, stamp/few numbers on back of title page, first 4/5 pages have an old paper repair at edges, little loss to vignette page, small piece of tape on back of title page near top, another large piece of tape over a slice to another page, some light blemishing throughout,
browned margins/some delicate, old paper repair to last few pages at edges/corners, missing a few words, missing pg. 1755 of the table of vertues at the end/tattered, and errata if it had one, otherwise complete, small hole or slice here or there, most pages are good, corners of boards bow in a bit, hinges holding well, text block is very good for over 375 years old!