She compiled and published her hand drawn, engraved and coloured "A Curious Herbal" in 1735 in order to raise funds to free her husband from debtors prison! It had taken her six years but she achieved she her aim in the end.
What's a herbal? A herbal is a book of plants, describing their appearance, their properties and how they may be used for preparing ointments and medicines.A herbal is the name given in earlier centuries to a book about plants - particularly those thought to have a medicinal use and of interest to physicians.
British Library - A Curious Herbal
My new site dedicated to her
Hans Sloane (the man behind the name behind Sloane Square) purchased the manor of Chelsea(!) and then provided the grounds for the Physic Garden and also apparently provided the funds to help get "A Curious Herbal" published.
It's actually very difficult to find places online where you can see images from "A Curious Herbal". I came to the conclusion there were two main sources.
First is the British Library website which has a 'turning the pages' site dedicated to "A Curious Herbal" - see British Library - "A Curious Herbal" - a Turning the Pages" book. This is a digital online version of the finely-bound copy of "A Curious Herbal from the collection of King George III which resides in the British Library. The e-book provides a series of double page spreads with image and explanation of what each plant is and what it is used for. The preface of the book also provides a testimonial from the President and governing body of the Royal College of Physicians to the effect that they found Blackwell's illustrations to be very useful.
Second believe ot or not was Amazon! Amazon has various of the images from the Herbal available as giclee prints - so I've included a number of them in the information site.
Overall I'm finding the stories - the history, the context, the facts and the places - associated with some of these lesser known botanical artists to be absolutely fascinating and it's leading me off in all sorts of directions in terms of further research! There's more to come...........
Elizabeth Blackwell - Resources for Botanical Art LoversAbout Elizabeth Blackwell (1707-1758)
- Making a Mark: A visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden
- Chelsea Physic Garden
- A Compendium of Botanical Art
- Find out about the history of botanical art