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 244, Broom (Genista). Genista is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family Fabaceae, native to open habitats such as moorland and pasture in Europe and western Asia. They include species commonly called broom. They are mainly deciduous shrubs and trees, often with brush-like foliage, often spiny to deter grazing, and masses of small, pea-like yellow blooms which are sometimes fragrant. Many of the species have flowers that open explosively when alighted on by an insect, the style flying through the upper seam of the keel and striking the underside of the insect, followed by a shower of pollen that coats the insect.
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 3/4 inches.