London: Printed for Adam Islip, Joice Norton, and Richard Whitakers, 1636. Item #00641
Second Printing of the Best Edition
Of The Most Famous English Herbal
GERARD, John. The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes. Gathered by John Gerarde of London, Master in Chirurgerie, Very much Enlarged and Amended by Thomas Johnson, Citizen and Apothecarye of London. London: Printed for Adam Islip, Joice Norton, and Richard Whitakers, 1636.
Third edition of Gerard’s Herball (first published in 1597), the second edition edited by Thomas Johnson, a reprint of his "very much enlarged and amended" 1633 edition, with the errata corrected in the text.
Large folio (13 1/4 x 8 15/16 inches; 337 x 227 mm.). , 1630 [i.e, 1634], , [1, blank], [46, indexes and tables] pp. Bound without the initial and final blank leaves, as usual. Engraved allegorical title by John Payne and 2,766 woodcut illustrations of plants in the text. Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials.
Mid-nineteenth-century sprinkled calf, expertly rebacked, with original spine laid down. Spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with five raised bands and tan morocco gilt lettering label. Board edges decoratively tooled in gilt. Marbled endpapers. An excellent and generally clean copy with condition issues of minor consequence compulsively noted below.
The second edition of Gerarde to be edited by Thomas Johnson, a reprint of the 1633 edition, with the errata corrected, and in place of the list of errata on the verso of the last leaf there is “An Advertisement to the Readers.”
“The first edition of Gerard’s herbal  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. He recalls Gaspard Bauhin in his scholarly anticipation of modern methods of editorship. He has, for example, a system of marking the text to distinguish the degrees to which he has altered or re-written Gerarde’s descriptions. Johnson’s new version was illustrated with a set of 2,766 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).
Condition: Small ink blot on E1 recto (p. 53); small paper flaw in the upper blank margin of E5 (pp. 61/62), just touching one letter on the recto; small hole in I4 (pp. 107/108), just affecting one woodcut on the recto and a few letters on the verso; small rust spot on T6-V2 (pp. 232-235), just affecting a couple of letters; slight browning in the gutter of X2 and X3 (pp. 248 and 249) from an inserted flower, now removed; small ink blot on Dd6 verso (p. 328), affecting one woodcut; small piece torn from upper blank margin of Tt1 (pp. 497/498), just touching rule; outer margin of Ccc1 (pp. 581/582) strengthened on the recto; small repair in the outer blank margin of Vuu1 (pp. 785/786); short tear (1 inch) in the lower blank margin of Ffff1-Ffff2 (pp. 893-896), just touching one letter on p. 893; small rust hole in Ssssss3 (pp. 1593/1594), just affecting a couple of letters; short clean tear in Yyyyyy1 (first leaf of index), not affecting text. Some light offsetting from the woodcuts, faint dampstain in the lower margin of a few leaves, a few additional small stains or rust spots, and a few additional minor marginal tears or paper flaws. Small bookseller’s label (“R.D. Steedman/Bookseller/Newcastle-on-Tyne”) on front pastedown.
Henrey 156. Hunt 230. Nissen, BBI, 698. Pritzel 3282. STC 11752.