Thornton, Robert John. A new family herbal: Or popular account of the natures and properties of the various plants used in medicine, diet, and the arts. London: Richard Phillips (pr. by Richard Taylor & Co.), 1810. 8vo (24.1 cm, 9.5"). xvi, 901, [1 (adv.)] pp.; illus.
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First edition: “A more complete and perfect herbal than has hitherto appeared . . . intended to unite the various advantages that have been derived to science from [Andrew Duncan's] 'Edinburgh New Dispensatory'” (p. vii). Compiled by an English physician and botanist remembered for his magnificent Temple of Flora, the present pharmaceutical treatise lists and describes the uses of 283 plantsillustrated with 261 wood engravings by Thomas Bewick. According to Johnston, this represents Bewick's “only attempt at botanical wood engravings,” based on designs by Peter Charles Henderson. Dr. Thornton was the author of A Grammar of Botany and The Philosophy of Botany, as well as The Temple of Flora,
In addition to the expectable lavender, chaste tree, burdock, lungwort, etc., also present here are discussions of Chinese smilax, coffee, tea, the Peruvian bark tree, ginseng, sarsaparilla, pimento (“Jamaica Pepper”), and tobacco.
Provenance: Front cover with gilt-stamped armorial device of Dr. Alfred Freer of Stourbridge, Worcestershire: out of a ducal coronet, an antelope's head.
NSTC T941; Hugo, Bewick Collector, 253; Johnston, Cleveland Herbal, Botanical, and Horticultural Collections, 745; Nissen 1954; Pritzel 9238; Rohde, Old English Herbals, 224 (listing Crosby ed. only). Contemporary calf, covers framed in blind roll and single gilt fillet, spine with blind-tooled compartment decorations; binding rubbed and scuffed overall, spine label now absent with traces remaining, repair work to splits in spine leather and to short tear from inner margin of front free endpaper, joints and extremities refurbished. Front free endpaper with inked ownership inscription (“C.M.W.”) dated 1912. Dedication tipped in. Pages gently age-toned with scattered foxing; small inkstain to upper fore-edge of first 30 ff., barely extending onto pages. One contents leaf with short tear (just touching text, without loss) and old repair in lower outer corner. A now solid, even rather distinguished-looking copy of a desirable pharmacopeiaexquisitely illustrated. (36043)
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