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Truffles and other Fungi. Gerarde's Herball woodcut c1597.

Truffles and other Fungi. Gerarde's Herball woodcut c1597.

by Gerarde, John

(Tubers from the earth) Tubera terra, Fuffe-balls, Puck-fifts...(now, Truffles), and Hony-com'd Mufhrome, Pricke Mufhrome.

Gerarde's Of the Historie of Plants stated fungi was "unprofitable and nothing worth". "...ïn woods also where the ground is sandy, but yet dankish; they grow likewise out of wood, forth of the rotten bodies of trees, but they are unprofitable and nothing worth." Truffles are now not worth nothing! 

Original woodblock-printed page for The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes by John Gerarde, published in London circa 1597 by John Norton. Trained as a barber-surgeon, John Gerarde (1545-1612) was apprenticed for seven years before practising medicine - and eventually became warden of the Barber-Surgeon Company. Gerarde pursued an interest in horticulture and maintained a large garden in London - as well as working as superintendent of the gardens of William Cecil, Lord Burghley (1521-1598). Gerarde studied the writings of other botanists and his Herball (which became the most famous British Herball of the sixteenth century) contained over 1,000 plants from his own garden, although much of the content was translated from the work of Flemish botanist, Rembertus Dodoens.

Over 400 years ago when these woodblocks were carved, paper was an expensive commodity. Printed on thin hand-made paper, the heavily inked woodcuts and block printing of text often show through from the reverse side of the page which adds distinctive character to each image.

Size of page 33 x 20cm (13 x 8 inches).

Stock Number: apJG1583Price: $250.00