London: Humfrey Lownes and Robert Young, 1629. Folio. [xii], 612,  pp. FIRST EDITION. Xylographic illustrated title signed by A. Switzer, woodcut portrait of the author before main text, numerous botanical woodcuts, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary calf, re-backed, morocco spine label and gilt decoration, red fore-edge. Front paste-down with annotations. A wonderful copy from the library of A. A. Dallman of Greenbank House in Preston with his inscription dated 1894 (see provenance below). Item #17502
First edition. This is the first printed book on English gardening and the first book from Parkinson. He dedicated the book to Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I. The King was so impressed with Parkinson’s work that he gave him the title of Botanicus Regius Primarius. Parkinson pays special attention to cross-breeding and selection. The book also contains over 100 detailed woodcuts of plants, many full-page, throughout its entirety. “One of the most beloved of all early English books on gardening, about which so much has been written that little need be said here . . . It was practical from the point of view of the gardener, and described nearly 1.000 plants, mostly exotics. Though it makes little appeal to the scientific botanist, it does give a very complete picture of the English garden at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and in such a delightful, homely literary style that gardeners cherish it even to the present day” (Hunt).
Parkinson (1566/7–1650) was an apothecary and herbalist in London. Although he was a prominent and instrumental figure in the Society of Apothecaries established in 1617, he left his position to tend to his own garden in Longacre, which experience led to him writing this book.
Provenance: Arthur Augustine Dallman (1883–1963) was a British botanist and botanical collector. He was educated at the Harris Institute in Preston. He received certificates in botany and chemistry and held a number of teaching posts. His annotations on the fly-leaf include a short biography of the author as well as a list of some other earlier botanists (such as Mathias de L’Obel, John Gerard, and William Turner), each with a brief biography.