The useful family herbal, or an account of all those English plants, which are remarkable for their virtues, and of the drugs which are produced by vegetables of other countries; with their descriptions and their uses, as proved by experience.

London: W. Owen and W. Johnston, 1755. 8vo. vi, [i], iv-liv, 404 pp. SECOND EDITION. Complete with the dedication to Lady Betty Germain, often lacking. With 8 leaves of plates containing numerous figures of plants, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary calf, rebacked, spine labels; other than some browning along the margins of the title page and some very minor soiling, a fine copy. Item #17613

Second edition, printed a year after the first. Hill states at the outset that he intends to show the usefulness of botany in everyday life. He believes “the true end of science is use” and that other botanists have failed to provide their readers with practical knowledge of plants. Hill’s desire is to “inform those who live in the country, and are desirous of being useful to their families and friends, or charitable to the poor, in the relief of their disorders, of the virtues of those plants that grow wild about them,” and provides recipes for tinctures as well as tips for identifying plants. His attempt to bring botany to the public was successful as is evident in the numerous editions that followed.

Hill (c. 1714–1775) was a physician and actor. In 1739, the second duke of Richmond hired Hill for his apothecary services, and he eventually took up a post at Goodwood House, Richmond’s Sussex seat and a hub of learning and culture, There Hill took up with the theatrical community, all the while continuing to collect botanical samples. Although he had many friends in the Royal Society, Hill was never elected to their ranks. Perhaps in retaliation, he printed numerous satires targeting the Society as well as scholarly texts. Hill was an incredibly prolific and popular writer and continued to publish works on subjects ranging from acting, plays, poems, fossils, and more herbals.

Price: $550.00

See all items by