The Second and Best Edition
GERARD, John. Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. Gathered by John Gerarde...Very much Enlarged and Amended by Thomas Johnson... London: Printed by Adam Islip, Joice Norton and Richard Whitakers , 1633.
Second and best edition, and “the first edition enlarged and edited by Thomas Johnson who corrected many of Gerard’s more gullible errors, and improved the accuracy of the illustrations by using Plantin’s woodcuts” (Hunt). Folio (13 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches; 348 x 235 mm.). [38], 30, 29-30, 29-1630, [48] pp. Bound without the initial and final blank leaves. Engraved allegorical title by John Payne. With 2,776 woodcuts of plants throughout the text. Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials.

Contemporary calf, neatly rebacked to style. Covers ruled in blind. Spine with red morocco label, lettered in gilt. All edges stained red. Scattered light marginal foxing on some leaves. Overall, an excellent copy.

“The first edition of Gerard’s herbal [1597] held the field without a competitor for more than a generation. It was not until it began to noised abroad that a certain John Parkinson would soon produce a new herbal to take its place, that the successors of Gerard’s original publisher were brought to the point of undertaking a second edition. In 1632 they commissioned Thomas Johnson, a well-known London apothecary and botanist to carry out the work, with the proviso that it must be completed within the year. This heavy task Johnson accomplished with marked success, even adding a balanced and comprehensive historical introduction...Johnson’s new version was illustrated with a set of 2766 blocks, previously used in the botanical books published by Plantin. The Herball, thus transformed, reached a far higher level than Gerard’s own edition” (Arber, Herbals, p. 134).

Henrey 155. Hunt 223. Nissen, BBI, 698. STC 11751.

HBS # 67940 $9,500