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Academic & Professional Books  Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel

Nature's Alchemist John Parkinson, Herbalist to Charles I

Biography / Memoir Out of Print
By: Anna Parkinson
335 pages, illus
Nature's Alchemist
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  • Nature's Alchemist ISBN: 9780711227675 Hardback Nov 2007 Out of Print #175075
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About this book

John Parkinson's beautiful Paradisi in Sole Paradisus Terrestris inspired Anna Parkinson from an early age. Who was this man who wrote so engagingly about plants? Was he a relation, as her father believed? And why was so little known about a man who was a key influence on the flowering of the English garden in the seventeenth century? Intrigued, she set out to find the answers.

Now, for the first time, John Parkinson can be seen as a man whose story reveals the excitement and agony of those turbulent times. His lifelong passion for plants was intimately bound up with the new dawn of scientific enquiry and the struggles of faith. We follow him from a humble childhood in Lancashire to a career as an apothecary in London which would bring him to high office under Charles I. We see how he tried, with his medical colleagues, to create a new 'common wealth' to replace the old monastic system, vesting his effort in writing the most comprehensive and scientific herbal there had ever been in English. Yet as a Catholic he kept a low profile, quietly growing an extraordinary range of flowers for 'delight and pleasure' in his notable garden in Covent Garden. He carefully recorded them all and had them engraved for his books.

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Biography / Memoir Out of Print
By: Anna Parkinson
335 pages, illus
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