Elizabeth Blackwell's A
Curious Herbal is
notable both for its beautiful illustrations and for the unusual
circumstances of its creation. A herbal contains illustrations and
descriptions of plants, their medicinal preparations, and the ailments
for which they are used. The first herbal was written by the Greek
physician Dioscorides in the first century AD.
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in Aberdeen in about
1700, but moved to London after she married. She undertook this
ambitious project to raise money to pay her husband's debts and release
him from debtors' prison.
Blackwell's Herbal was
an unprecedented enterprise for a woman of her time. She drew, engraved
and coloured the illustrations herself, mostly using plant specimens
from the Chelsea Physic Garden.
The Herbal was
issued in weekly parts between 1737 and 1739, each part containing four
illustrated plates and a page of text. It was highly praised by leading
physicians and apothecaries (makers and sellers of medicines), and made
enough money to secure her husband's freedom.
You can download this 2 volume publication here in pdf
Volume 1 |