An exceptionally fine engraving with original hand-coloring from the first edition of A CURIOUS HERBAL - drawn, engraved and painted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Published in London, c. 1739.
This is Plate 385, The greater & lesser Cardamoms & Grains of Paradyce (Cardamomum majus, minus et maximum: vel Grana Paradsisi). Cardamom, sometimes Cardamon or Cardamum, is a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum in the family Zingiberaceae. Both genera are native to India (the largest producer until the late 20th century), Bangladesh, Bhutan, Indonesia, Nepal, and Pakistan. They are recognized by their small seed pods, triangular in cross-section and spindle-shaped, with a thin, papery outer shell and small black seeds. It is the world's third-most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by vanilla and saffron.
These 18th century herbals are from one of the first English botanical series to be issued with hand-colored plates. Published by Elizabeth Blackwell to free her physician husband from debtor’s prison. Due to the great success and popularity of this enterprise, her husband was indeed released (however he was later beheaded for his part in a political plot to alter the Swedish royal succession).
Plate size is approximately 11 3/4 x 7 7/8 inches.