The herball, or, Generall historie of plantes


John Gerard


The herball, or, Generall historie of plantes






Printed by Adam Islip, Joice Norton and Richard Whitakers




Thomas Johnson
Robert Davyes
John Payne


Illustrated t. p., engraved ("Io. Payne sculps.") Four pages, between 30 and 31, incorrectly numbered 29-30, 29-30 Many errors in pagination which do not affect the total First edition published in 1597 "A catalogue of the Brittish [i.e. Welsh] names of plants sent me by Master Robert Dauyes of Guissaney in Flint-shire": p. [31-32] at end Includes indexes Errata: p.[46] at end Signatures: pi⁸(-pi1)2pi-3pi⁶A-B⁸C-6U⁶6X⁴6Y-7B⁶(-7B6) "D1r last line begins 'sists'; 7B5v has errata."--STC (2nd ed.)

This copy has been rebound and the text block trimmed. Quarter-bound leather over marbled paper covered pasteboards. Sewn onto 5 cords. Compartment 2 on spine has been overlaid with a red leather label with a short title and the date 1688 stamped in gold. Some additional gilding on spine.  No headband or tailband. Flatbacked.

Binding -- poor. The leather and the marbled papers are badly cracked and scuffed. The spine is cracking. The back board has detached from the spine.
Pages -- fair. Most of the pages are clean and easy to read. Some light staining. There has been some restoration work done on the front matter including pasting the title page onto a new leaf (title page is also missing its bottom right corner). Three leaves are missing from the text block: 4Y3, 6Z1, ZA1. Leaf 7A6 is badly damaged.

Generally fair condition. Due to its large size, this book should be handled with extra care.

About the Editors (¶1v)
To Sir William Cecil (¶2r)
Praise for John Gerard (¶3v)
To the Reader from St. Bredwell Physition (¶5r)
To the Reader from George Baker (¶6r)
To the Reader from John Gerard (¶¶1r)
To the Reader from Thomas Johnson (¶¶2r)

2°: engr. titl. + ¶666 A-B8 C-6V6 6X4 6Y-7A6 [$3 signed (+A4, +B4; -¶3, -6X3; ¶1 signed as '¶3', ¶2 as '¶4', 3L3 as '3L5', 4C3 as '4C1', 5B2 as '5A2'] 851 leaves (missing 4Y3, 6Z1, 7A1), pp. [36], 1 - 32, 29-229 230 231- 986 989-1257 1258 1259-1589 1590 1591-1630 1631 1632 [=1630], [36] (misprinted 31 as '29', 32 as '30', 241 as '141', 355 as '343, 370 as '400', 371 as '401', 620 as '626', 795 as '797', 1240 as '1204', 1326 as '1316', 1457 as '1459', 1480 as '1478'). Boards measure: 34 x 22 cm. Leaves measure: 33 x 21.5 cm.

Engraved title page, decorated initials (woodcut), printer's devices (woodcut), numerous woodcuts depicting plants.

Printed Marginalia: Light reference notes mostly in the front matter. Paragraphs in the chapters of the main text have been denoted alphabetically.
Handwritten Notes: An inscription that reads: "For The Raspis - See Page 1273" is written in graphite on the back of the title page. Page 1273 does contain an entry for the raspis bush.The name F. D. Hoeniger is written  in graphite on the inner pastedown (top left) and the recto of the first flyleaf (top right). The inscription “gerard 1633 corrected by Thomas Johnson." has been written on the inner pastedown in graphite and looks to be in the same hand as the person who wrote the name F. D. Hoeniger (presumably himself). There are three instance of pressed plants in the book (there may be more as the condition of the binding is so poor that the book can not be opened all the way and some small plants may be deep in the gutter). They are located on pg. 1073 (fronds), 1343 (three leaves) and 1577 (white blossom). There is a slip of paper containing a written note regarding some changes made in the book which has been placed between the cover and the flyleaf.

Donated by F. D. Hoeniger. CRRS call number “Qk 41 G3 1633 Large CRRS Rare Oversized' written on the recto of the title page. There are five slips of paper inserted between the cover and the flyleaf. Three of these pieces are excerpts from booksellers catalogues. Only one has a title: "Thomas Thorp, 27 Albemarle Street, W.1". The book that has been noted on this sheet is the third edition. The smaller two pieces have descriptions for the second edition. The piece that bears the handwritten inscription: "Bow Windows Book Shop Cat. 49 Dec. 71." has a description of a copy that matches the bindings of the CRRS copy. Price listed on that piece is 285 pounds.

Second edition. First printed in 1597.
STC 11751



[Within an engraved title page in the three sections: first section contains a landscape with plants, two banners, two obelisks, two women with the names Ceres and Pomona, and a sun with the Hebrew for Yahweh written on it; second section contains two male figures with the names Heophrastus and Dioscorides, two columns and an oval frame; final section has a portrait of John Gerard (?) in an archway flanked by two potted plants; signed Io Payne Sculps;31 x 19.5 cm; platemark has been trimmed off.] [Within a banner] Ecce dedi vobis omnes herbas ſementantes ſemen, que ſunt. Gen: 129.[Within a slot] Excideret ne tibi diuini muneris AuthorPræſentem monstrat quælibet herba Deum. │ [Within an oval frame]THE │HERBALL │ OR GENERALL │ Hiſtorie of │ Plantes.│ Gathered by John Gerardeof London Master inCHIRVRGERIEVery muchEnlarged and Amended byThomas JohnsonCitizen and ApothecaryeofLONDON │ [Within a slot] London Printed byAdam Iſlip Joice Nortonand Richard WhitakersAnno. 1633.

A Catalogue of Additions (¶¶¶3v)
Index latinus (6Y1v)
Nominum Quorundam Interpretatio (6Y6r)
Table of English Names (6Z4r)
Table of Less Used English Names (7A3v)
A Catalogue of British Names (7A4v)
Table of Nature and Vertues (7A5v)
Errata (7A6r)

Roman, italics, some blackletter.

Crown over a heraldic shield with two rampant lions.

Library Catalog


Num Pages


Call Number

QK41 .G3 1633

Item Type



Title page.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 Frontmatter 7v - 8r Spread.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 A1 recto.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 pg 237.jpg
pg 343.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 pg 352.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 page 392-393 Spread.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 p553.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 pg 650.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 page 1072-1073 Spread samples.jpg
pg 1242.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 page 1342-1343 Spread Samples.jpg
pg 1577.jpg
QK41 G3 1633 p1578 - 1579 Spread.jpg



John Gerard, “The herball, or, Generall historie of plantes,” Centre for Renaissance and Reformation Studies (CRRS) Rare Book Collection, accessed May 29, 2024,