256 pages, 300 colour illustrations
The botanical riches of this book are twofold. This is firstly a book about plants themselves, and the story of their exploration, appreciation, introduction and exploitation through the ages. But it is equally about the collective library of books that document this botanical exploration and appreciation of plants, and the history and craft of botanical illustration.
Richard Aitken brings his wide expertise in garden history to this highly illustrated book. He traces man's gradual realisation of the potential of plants for medicinal, nutritional, flavouring and decorative purposes from the ancient and classical worlds, through to the Renaissance and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to today. Entire mercantile societies revolved around the trade in spices, oils and fruit and vegetables, making those in possession of such natural resources extremely wealthy.
Botanical Riches is magnificently illustrated with some of the world's most glorious engraved, lithographed and hand-coloured botanical illustrations. From the earliest Renaissance herbals to the elaborate and beautiful volumes from the golden age of printing, books celebrating plants from far-off lands brought with them a sense of wonder.
'This is a book to treasure. Lavishly illustrated, lovingly written, globally inclusiveA...Readers will find some wonderfully compelling cultural-botanical juxtapositionsA... Representations of plant forms are stunningly presented ... Maps, garden flowers, floras, and portraits of botanists round out the visual feast, all of it accompanied by readable, informative text. Essential. All levels.' -Choice
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