Elizabeth Blackwell - 1739 First Edition - Lignum Vitae


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 350, Lignum Vitae of Jamaica, Lignum Vitae of Brasil (Guajacum)Guaiacum, sometimes spelled Guajacum, is a genus of flowering plants in the caltrop family Zygophyllaceae. It contains five species of slow-growing shrubs and trees, reaching a height of approximately 20 m (66 ft) but are usually less than half of that. All are native to subtropical and tropical regions of the Americas and are commonly known as lignum-vitaeguayacán (Spanish), or gaïac (French). Members of the genus have a variety of uses, including as lumber, for medicinal purposes, and as ornamentalsGuaiacum officinale is the national flower of Jamaica, while Guaiacum sanctum is the national tree of The Bahamas.

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 7/8 x 7 7/8 inches.

Shipped Unmatted

  • Inventory# B-590