Collection online

title-page / print

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1881,0611.291

  • Description

    Titlepage, with portraits of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, to the second edition of John Gerard's 'The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes' (London, Adam Islip and others: 1633) Engraving

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1633
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 319 millimetres
    • Width: 199 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title of book in centre and imprint below; at bottom 'Jo Payne sculps.'
  • Curator's comments

    (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.104)
    Gerard's Herbal, first published in 1597, was the most famous of the Elizabethan herbals. Its reputation however disguises its somewhat murky history. It is in fact largely a translation of the Pemptades of Rembert Dodoens, the leading sixteenth-century Dutch botanist, which was commissioned by the publisher John Norton and largely executed by a Dr Priest. Gerard's preface states that Priest's transation had been lost and that he (Gerard) had produced an original work. It was in fact so full of errors that Norton had to call on Matthias de Lobel (1538-1611), a French botanist who later entered the service of James I, to correct the text.
    The second edition of 1633, a far more sophisticated and comprehensive work, was commissioned from Thomas Johnson by Norton's successors in the face of a rumour that John Parkinson, Charles I's herbalist, was about to produce a herbal of his own. The woodcuts of the first edition were replaced by 2766 blocks borrowed from the stock of Christopher Plantin's successors in Antwerp - the entire inventory of the firm. Johnson, a noted London herbalist and apothecary, was to die at the siege of Basing House in 1645, (For all this see A.Arber, 'Herbals, their origin and evolution', 3rd ed. Cambridge 1986, pp.129-35.)
    The quality of this frontispiece is largely attributable to its being engraved by Payne, who doubtless designed it himself. At the top are the classical goddesses Ceres and Pomona; flanking the title are the Greek medical writers Theophrastus and Dioscorides; and at the bottom is Gerard himself, flanked by two vases of flowers which appear to be copied from some Dutch original.

    This print was issued as a black and white facsimile by the British Museum in 'Reproductions of Prints in the British Museum', New Series Part IX (Specimens of Line-engraving by the Earliest Masters Working in England (About 1545-1695)), Published by the Trustees in 1900, where it was number X and described there as 'John Payne. Title-page to Gerarde's Herball, 1633, with Portrait of the Author.'; see 1900,10.31.6.10 (Shelfmark 245*.b.23).

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Hind 1952-64 III.23.42 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Associated names

  • Associated titles

    • Associated Title: The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes ... enlarged and amended by Thomas Johnson
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1881

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1881,0611.291

Titlepage, with portraits of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, to John Gerard, 'The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes ... enlarged and amended by Thomas Johnson', second edition, (London, Adam Islip and others, 1633) Engraving

Titlepage, with portraits of Theophrastus and Dioscorides, to John Gerard, 'The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes ... enlarged and amended by Thomas Johnson', second edition, (London, Adam Islip and others, 1633) Engraving

Image description

Recommend


Feedback

If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA101894

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 

Supporters

Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help  

Loading...