Book Review: The Illustrated College Herbal. Plants from the Pharmacopoea Londinensis of 1618
Today sees the book launch of The Illustrated College Herbal: Plants from the Pharmacopoea Londinensis of 1618 at the Royal College of Physicians. I'll be there this afternoon!
This new illustrated herbal features watercolour paintings and woodcuts of nearly 200 plants from the Pharmacopoea Londinensis beds in the RCP’s Medicinal Garden at its home on the edge of Regent's Park.
The book has an interesting history and this book review precedes comments on its contents with a short history of its antecedents and the reasons why it has been published this year.
I recommend this book to all those interested in the history of medicinal plants and herbals in particular. In addition to the high quality content and production it also contains a lot of information about the plants identified for medicinal use
The Pharmacopoea Londinensis (1618) and the Royal College of Physicians
The Pharmacopoea Londinensis was Britain’s first Pharmacopoeia. That is, an official publication containing a list of medicinal drugs with their effects and directions for their use. It was first published in 1618. (You can read a digital copy on the Wellcome Library website). It contained:
The Royal College of Physicians is an older institution and was founded in 1518. In 2018 it celebrates its 500th anniversary; marked in February by an official visit by HM The Queen and the publication of a modern day RCP500 charter.
The publication of the Illustrated College Herbal in turn marks:
About The Illustrated College Herbal
This book results from a collaboration between:
The contents include:
Next more detailed comments on my real interest - the illustrations!
The book is large and its size and quality of the printing enables full appreciation of each illustration. The book contains:
I think it's the first time I've seen contemporary botanical artwork systematically interspersed with a number of woodcuts and it's fascinating to review
Features of each image in the book are:
Plants are listed alphabetically. This means there is scope to match up contemporary and historical illustrations of plants from the same genus on facing pages (eg Citrus pages 48-9; Papaver pages 134-5); Plantago pages 144-5; Teucrium on pages 186-7; Thyme portrayed on pages 188-9; )
I particularly liked:
How to get a copy
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