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Part III - Authors and the Printed English Herbal

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2021

Sarah Neville
Ohio State University


Early Modern Herbals and the Book Trade
English Stationers and the Commodification of Botany
, pp. 205 - 262
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

Chapter 7 William Turner and the Medical Book Trade

In a November 28, 1550, letter to William Cecil, then secretary of state, Protestant divine William Turner demonstrated how intertwined his studies of natural philosophy were with his religious conviction and political maneuvering. After his reformist zeal led to his rejection from consideration for leadership positions at Oriel and Magdalen colleges, Turner feared that he might never find the preferment he sought in England, and he proposed to Cecil that a return to the continent would offer him some consolation. Turner had first left England in early 1541 after marrying in defiance of his diaconal vows, and this sojourn abroad had enabled him to obtain an Italian MD.Footnote 1 If Cecil obliged with funds, Turner wrote, a new tour would enable him to complete a number of writing projects on theology and natural history. Both of these interests, as well as Turner’s careful study of textual transmission, are clearly on display in his request, as was his deep-seated conviction that the Roman Catholic church had corrupted doctrine:

if that i myght haue my pore prebende cu[m]myng to me yearly i will for it correct ye hold [old] newe testament in englishe, and wryt a booke of ye causis of my correctio[n] & changing of the translatio[n]. I will also finishe my great herball & my bookes of fishes stones & metalles, if good sende me lyfe and helthe.Footnote 2

Turner’s play on “old” and “new” was characteristic; more than a decade earlier, he had translated works by Joachim von Watt and Urbanus Regius, and these works’ English titles indicate Turner’s preoccupation with textual corruption: Of ye Olde God & the Newe (1534; STC 25127) and The Olde Learnyng & the Newe (1537; STC 20840). Turner’s exegetical interests in Protestant reform offered a valuable backdrop to his botanical investigations, encouraging him to couple textual analyses and corrections of classical and modern authorities with his own observations of plants. More often than not, on the title pages of his botanical works Turner’s role is identified as a “gatherer,” a figure who locates and assembles disparate information into a cohesive and useful whole. In his magnum opus, a three-part herbal of 1568 that was fully published only after his death, the unpublished third part of Turner’s work is presented as “lately gathered.”Footnote 3

Turner’s combination of observation, correction, and accretive book learning has appealed to modern critical sensibilities, and historians have hailed him as the “Father of British Botany” since the endorsement of that phrase by Benjamin Daydon Jackson in 1877. Turner’s paternal moniker offers a useful framing for understanding how his specific form of rhetorical self-fashioning became naturalized within the history of “author-ized” botanical books. The first named English herbalist carefully and explicitly signaled his use of his contemporaries, particularly continental herbalists, and Turner’s paratexts demonstrate the way that herbals were conceived by their authors as an iterative and intertextual genre even as the medium of the printed book enabled authors to declare their authority as “herbalists” to the world. In both verbal and pictorial content and in codicological form, then, herbals as a genre were embedded within a textual ecosystem that calls singular authorship into question. Later texts build upon the findings of previous ones, and later authors stand to gain by arguing and correcting their predecessors. The herbal genre, in other words, is self-perpetuating, and it was this recursive propagation that made such books particularly attractive to the publishers who stood to profit from their sale.Footnote 4

Turner and Cecil had become acquainted in the employ of Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, where Cecil had been Somerset’s secretary and Turner his physician. Through Cecil’s intervention, shortly after the 1550 request, Turner succeeded to the deanery of Wells, but his religious successes were soon extinguished by the accession of the Catholic Queen Mary I in 1553. Turner, like many English reformers, fled to the continent. The hands-on studies of continental plants that Turner’s exiles made possible, coupled with his understanding of English flora, enabled him to overcome the linguistic and biogeographical barriers that had stymied his fellow English natural historians who still subscribed to the works of Dioscorides and Pliny as if they were dogma. By demonstrating his respect for these classical authorities while simultaneously acknowledging that there were limits to the information that modern editions of their works could possess, Turner’s lasting contributions to British botany have as much to do with his understanding of the ways that written texts can often lead the faithful astray as they do with his developing empiricist ethos, a codicological awareness Leah Knight describes as Turner’s “botanical reformation.”Footnote 5 I argue in this chapter that, throughout his careers as a naturalist and as a reformer, Turner strategically deployed print, using the medium to his advantage in both terrestrial and celestial fields to make his authoritative pretentions manifest. As a surrogate for his person, Turner’s printed books could go places that he could not, and they could speak even when their author was in continental exile.

Turner’s desire for authority is most on display in his medical works, where, after becoming a physician in the 1540s, he quickly adopted the domineering authorial posture characteristic of those who recognized that print could be instrumentalized to serve the medical establishment’s larger professional goals. Yet there is also an ambivalence laced throughout Turner’s writing. As he suggests that printed texts can usefully serve as surrogates for their authors, he also displays an increasing concern that the rapid and unauthorized transmission of books in print may lead to an author’s original intentions becoming corrupted. Once made public, copies of a printed book take on a life of their own, and authors are unable to control how others read and receive their message. Authors therefore needed to manage early modern stationers, the makers and distributors of books, with careful rhetoric to try to prevent the stationers’ agency over the printed artifact undermining the authority of authors over their subject matter. Like his continental contemporary Leonard Fuchs, Turner’s authorial self-fashioning responded to his dependency upon stationers by attempting to distinguish himself from those artisans whose skills were integral to his authoritative posturing.

Turner was not alone in his recognition that print could serve as a proxy for an author’s expertise and professional standing. In Chapter 5, I argued that in his 1539 edition of The Great Herball, the grocer-apothecary and printer Thomas Gibson used his address to the reader to reframe that work’s medical stance and support the professionalization of medicine. While the earlier and later editions of The Grete Herball of Peter Treveris and John King had suggested that books like herbals might serve as surrogates for medical practitioners like apothecaries, Gibson eliminated a closing address that recognized the way readers themselves could become practitioners of herbal medicine through study of the natural world. Instead, Gibson’s paratextual materials foreground the Galenic expertise espoused by European physicians, which Gibson later became, and suggest that the most trustworthy medical books should be accompanied by medical doctors’ endorsements or oversight. Thus did early modern physic and early modern bookselling become intertwined, as physicians quickly realized that printed books offered an opportunity for physicians to lay claim to public knowledge about the body. Over the course of his career in print, Turner, who may have known Gibson personally, eventually also came to assert that physicians’ authority allowed them to control the discourses of healing provided by printed books like herbals.

Turner’s authoritative posturing in his books of natural history complicates our understanding of his doctrinal positions because his professional status as a physician eventually required his endorsement of a hierarchy of knowledge that is seemingly at odds with the reformist position of sola scriptura. While, on the one hand, Turner’s botanical writing simply grows to endorse physicians’ traditional approaches to lay readership by assuming doctors’ command over readers’ understanding of their own bodies, reading Turner’s herbals alongside his religious polemics reveals contradictions with his earlier insistence on Christians’ informed but independent judgment in spiritual matters.Footnote 6 What gradually begins to emerge in his botanical writing is evidence of an epistemological collision between Turner’s dual roles as reformer and physician, as his affiliation with the latter group struggled to control an information medium that the former group had masterfully and strategically used to its advantage. Despite (and perhaps because of) this increasing ambivalence about authority, however, Turner’s publications throughout his lifetime display his acute awareness of the ways that print can be deployed strategically to support authorial agendas, and his lasting status as “the father of British botany” shows that, at least in the field of natural history, his efforts were successful.

Others have found similar evidence of Turner’s authorial ambivalence in the religious polemics he wrote attacking the Henrician bishop Stephen Gardiner, The Huntyng & Fyndying out of the Romishe Fox (1543; STC 24353) and The Rescuynge of the Romishe Fox (1545; STC 24355). Erin Katherine Kelly has shown that in these hunting tracts Turner instrumentalized the printed medium as a proxy for his devoted service in order to engage a “canny” posture that facilitated a simultaneous “assertion of status and an expression of utter servility.”Footnote 7 In Turner’s tracts, the publication of printed books are tools for making public the heretofore hidden efforts of Romish predators lurking in the king’s dominion. The narrator’s role as a reluctant hunter forced to seek out Gardiner, the Romish Foxe, aligns with his positioning the tracts as “hounds” dutifully deployed in service of Henry VIII. As Kelly notes, however, “the meanings attached to participants in the hunt, animal or human, change as Turner’s argument requires,” and Turner’s chosen metaphor also enables him to “use[] the hunt to assert his own status, both as a commentator on religious affairs in England and as a potential loyal servant in a truly reformed England.”Footnote 8 Yet the self-effacement is transient; when Turner returns to the hunt as a metaphor a decade later in his 1555 tract The Huntyng of the Romyshe Vuolpe (1555), Kelly says “the carefully calibrated humility that was evident in the earlier two tracts is discarded” in favor of a new declaration of expertise. However, Turner’s appreciation of the role of the printed medium as a vehicle for his self-pretention is still in clear evidence:

I haue for my parte found out these wolues, where as they were so dysgysed, that a man unexpert in thys kynde of hunting, which I do professe, would haue thought that they had been men, and not onely men, but honest men, and no Wolues. I haue in thys my boke shewed you where they be, & who they be.Footnote 9

For Turner, in 1545, printed books are useful largely because they make hidden truths public, but, by 1555, the material form of print is the foundation of an author’s authority to interpret. In both cases, however, the agents that Turner insists are responsible for “thys my boke” are not the stationers who made such works available to readers as publishers, printers, and distributors but the author who wrote its text.

Turner’s attitude towards printed books, and the uses to which they can be put by clever authors, can be seen to shift over the course of his interrelated careers as a physician, divine, and naturalist. This chapter demonstrates how Turner’s three herbals reflect a bibliographic self-consciousness in English botany that was emerging simultaneously with the efforts of English physicians to assert their influence over all elements of medicine. Anonymous bestselling English works like the little Herball as well as The Grete Herball were widely available during Turner’s undergraduate studies at Cambridge, but despite their popularity with readers, Turner claimed that those works offered little of use to professional medical practitioners. It was to remedy what he called the “unlearned cacography” of these texts that Turner was prompted in 1538 to first offer up his own botanical studies in English for the good of the commonweal despite his fellow physicians’ concerns that such an endeavor would make specialized professional knowledge widely available to laypeople.Footnote 10 Historians of botany have largely taken Turner at his word and consequently viewed him simply as a benevolent democratizer of medical information; however, the herbals that Turner wrote after he obtained a medical degree reveal that, like Thomas Gibson and Leonard Fuchs before him, Turner came to develop a mistrust of laypeople’s judgment. The shift in the attitudes of his herbals likewise mirrors the way that Turner’s approach to print changes through his hunting pamphlets: books that were first materially useful because of their wide distribution later become useful as a textual mechanism for asserting authoritative control. In either case, however, stationers profit so long as Turner’s books sell to a willing public. In the wider context of the trade in Renaissance books, then, Turner’s herbals result less from his personal religious zeal or professional ambition than they do from Tudor printers willingly taking advantage of an anticipated market demand.

Turner Reads the Print Marketplace
At the time of writing his 1550 appeal to Cecil, Turner had only just returned to England after a decade of self-imposed exile on the continent that had been necessitated by Turner’s marriage to Jane Alder.Footnote 11 Along with the ecclesiastical charges stemming from this marriage, Turner had also been wanted on charges of heresy for The Hunting & Fyndyng of the Romishe Foxe and The Rescvynge of the Romish Fox. The tracts had been printed in Germany and smuggled into England along with other reformer texts, and the crown, fearing that the pamphlets would fuel Protestant uprisings, had issued a prohibition on July 7, 1546, “[t]o auoide and abolish suche englishe bookes, as conteine pernicious and detestable erroures and heresies” (STC 7809). Along with Tyndale’s and Coverdale’s translations of the New Testament, no one in England

shall receiue have take or kepe in his or their possession, any maner of booke printed or written in the english tongue, which be or shalbe sette forth, in the names of Frith, Tindall, Wicliff, Joy, Roy, Basile, Bale, Barnes, Couerdale, Tourner, Tracy, or by any of them, or any other boke or bokes conteining matter contrary to the kinges maiesties booke, called, A necessary doctrine and erudition for any christian man.Footnote 12

Unaffected by this proclamation were Turner’s Latin works that were less accessible to lay readers, including his botanical tract Libellus de re Herbaria novus in quo Herbarum aliquot nomina greca, latina & anglica habes, vna cum nominibus officinarum (STC 24358), a short quarto published by John Byddell and distributed from his shop at the sign of the Sun on London’s Fleet street in 1538.Footnote 13 This “new booklet concerning herbal matters, in which you have some Greek, Latin and English names of herbs, together with names of medicaments,”Footnote 14 was effectively a simple glossary of 144 plants that included linguistic variants in plant names. Compared even to earlier botanical works like the multiple editions of the little Herball and The Grete Herbal, the practical or medical information contained in Turner’s Libellus was slight. For every Alsine that offered “this is the herb which our women call Chykwede [chickweed] … those who keep small birds shut up in cages refresh them with this when they are off their feed,” there were a dozen Athanasia that stated merely “[this] is called tagetes in Greek, tanacetum in Latin, what the English have called Tansy.Footnote 15 The work is primarily a multilingual dictionary designed to enable readers to keep botanical signifiers in order as they read other texts. In other words, Libellus is a book that both relies upon and supports the existence of other books.

Turner’s biographers have noted that his fellow exiles on the continent during Henry VIII’s and Mary’s reigns were significant contributors to both his medical and his botanical development. Because universities were major sites for both humanism and medical education, natural historians affiliated with universities on the continent were among the first to interrogate the philology of plant names and to connect these linguistic investigations to their own personal experience with plants.Footnote 16 The first botanical garden was established in Pisa in 1544; a second followed in Padua in 1545. The original purpose of such gardens was to provide an applied education in simples for students as part of their medical education, and after their humanistic instruction at Oxford or Cambridge, many would-be English physicians were granted permission to seek residencies at Italian, Swiss, French, or Dutch universities to further their studies.Footnote 17 During his first exile in the early 1540s, Turner took advantage of his time on the continent to become a doctor of medicine at either Ferrara or Bologna, a degree that Cambridge incorporated upon his return to England in 1547. Such credentials enabled Turner to act as both physician and auxiliary chaplain to his patron, the Earl of Somerset, Lord Protector at Seymour’s residence at Syon.Footnote 18

Turner’s interest in plants as medicaments becomes evident from the preface to Libellus, which displays a mild rebuke to those learned men who refuse to share their knowledge in print. In his 1538 address to the “Candid Reader,” the thirty-year-old Turner explains why he, a “still beardless youth” (imberbem adhuc iuuenem), would attempt to write a herbal when he knows that there are, “in such studies, six hundred other Englishmen who precede me (as they say) on white horses.”Footnote 19 Despite these numerous but nameless would-be English herbalists, however, there remains in 1538 no printed list of English and classical botanical equivalencies like the one Turner himself provides, and he admits that he “thought it best that [he] should try something difficult of this sort rather than let young students who hardly know the names of plants correctly go on in their blindness.”Footnote 20 Such blindness, it seems, Turner himself had experienced as an undergraduate at Cambridge. He would later reminisce in the introduction to his 1568 New Herball that the Libellus was born from his frustration with inadequate instruction as an undergraduate, which could not be remedied by turning to the book market:

euen beyng yet felow of Penbroke [sic] hall in Cambridge/ wher as I could learne neuer one Greke/ nether Latin/ nor English name/ euen amongest the Phisiciones of anye herbe or tre/ suche was the ignorance in simples at that tyme/ and as yet there was no Englishe Herbal but one/ al full of vnlearned cacographees and falselye naminge of herbes/ and as then had nether Fuchsius nether Matthiolus/ nether Tragus written of herbes in Latin.Footnote 21

At least as he reconstructs his motivations in 1538 thirty years later, Turner saw his Libellus as filling a void for scholarly English readers, who had no printed works fit to guide their botanical explorations that had been produced by a native natural historian of plants.Footnote 22 Anonymous works like the little Herball (1525) and The Grete Herball (1526) were increasingly available in new editions, but each offered so little in the way of descriptive information on plant nomenclature, morphology, or localities that they were virtually useless for bridging the gap between the various continental and English terminologies for plants that Turner had identified. Whichever work it was that Turner recognized in his condemnation of the only “vnlearned cacographee” that was available to early English readers, it is clear that he nonetheless saw the enterprise of herbalism (cognoscendis herbis) in England as a nascent scholarship open to those willing to investigate on their own. Throughout Libellus, Turner urges his candid reader to read critically and improve upon his work: “If I am caught blundering (and this is very easy) I will gladly be corrected by men of learning. For I am not too proud and pleased with myself to accept gladly the verdicts of the learned.”Footnote 23

Turner clearly saw the works of continental authors as a crucial aid to plant identification and classification, and their names appear throughout his many volumes of natural history to bolster his arguments or to offer inferior hypotheses that Turner then endeavors to correct. For example, in his later 1548 volume The Names of Herbes, Turner notes that

Stachys semeth to Gesner to be the herbe that we cal in english Ambrose, & I deni not but that it may be a kynde of it. Howe be it I haue sene the true Italian staches, whiche hath narrower and whiter leaues then Ambrose hat. It maye be named in englishe little Horehounde or strayte Horehound.Footnote 24

Because Turner’s first herbal was a gloss or equivalency table of plant names, the text’s nature mostly precluded his citation of other botanists; nonetheless, a few authoritative figures appear in the work’s preliminaries. In 1538, those men esteemed by Turner as sufficiently “learned” included the Parisian physician Jean Ruel and German physician Otto Brunfels, whose works served as excellent exemplars of regionally inflected service to a growing body of natural philosophy. In Libellus’s address to the reader, Turner mentions both men by name, and both also regularly appear in the references of his later botanical writings. The first volume of Otto Brunfels’s three-volume Herbarum vivae eicones was printed by Johannes Schott in Strasburg in 1530, a work that, as its title (“Living Portraits of Plants”) suggests, was chiefly notable for its illustrations by Hans Weiditz, a pupil of Albrecht Dürer. Later volumes followed the publication of this text in 1531–1532 and 1536. Ruel’s translation of Dioscorides’ De materia medica (first printed in Greek by the Aldine Press in 1499) had been published in Paris by Henri Estienne in 1516; by 1551, Turner seems to have owned or to have had access to a copy of one of Ruel’s many editions. Both Ruel and Brunfels frequently appear in Turner’s A New Herball among a group of continental authorities whose printed works “haue greatly promoted the knowledge of herbes by their studies, and haue eche deserued very muche thanke, not only of their owne countrees, but also of all the hole common welth of all Christendome.”Footnote 25 Printed books of botany improved “the hole common welth” through their dissemination, which made what was once individual knowledge widely available, able to be shared in common.Footnote 26 Turner’s investment in others’ printed works was typical of the era, as Brian W. Ogilvie has noted: “published texts [of natural history] were not the end product of the process of natural history research; rather they were themselves employed as tools by naturalists seeking to make sense of their particular experience.”Footnote 27 In other words, later herbals descended from earlier ones, and previously printed botanical books were a crucial location for herbalists’ “gathering” behaviors.

A crucial and distinctive part of Turner’s use of contemporary botanical authorities, however, is his recognition of their provenance. He is particularly attuned to the sources that individual authors used in their translations of classical authorities. For example, in his entry on Nerium in the second volume of his Herball (1562), Turner notes that the seed pod

as it openeth/ sheweth a wollyshe nature lyke an thystel down/ as Ruellius tra[n]slation hath/ it semeth [that] hys greke text had άκάνθινοις παπποις. But my greke text hath ύάκινθίνοις παπποις. And so semeth the old translator to have red/ for he he [sic] translatheth thus: lanam deintus habens similem hyacintho. Yet for all that I lyke Ruelliusses Greke text better then myne for the down is whyte and lyke thestel down/ & nothynge lyke hyacinthus …Footnote 28

Printed Greek works were presumably available to Turner in the libraries of his friends and colleagues during his exiles on the continent between 1540 and 1558, but the availability of such texts in Cambridge in 1538 may have been limited, as only Ruel and Brunfels were mentioned in the text of the Libellus. Later, in the second part of the New Herball, Turner insists that the limited availability of good translations could be mitigated if publishers included the original work along with the vernacular conversion, “for so myght men the better examin theyr translationes.”Footnote 29

Turner notes that including both original and translated texts together would not only benefit plant knowledge by enabling correction but also encourage the spread of self-education, a secular form of the sola scriptura that was consistent with his devotion to religious reform. Turner’s awareness of the limited availability of quality books motivated both his educational and his reform goals, and he insisted that authors themselves were responsible for helping to remedy this bibliographic problem. This pursuit accords well with modern standards of scholarly citation and, I argue, later helped to ensure Turner’s botanical reputation.

Once he obtained his MD, Turner’s reputation was also protected by his role as a physician. As Turner realized that printing made possible a widespread distribution of books, he also recognized an opportunity that could serve his pastoral and botanical interests: the diverging systems of professional and civic authority governing the three medical professions. While physicians were university-trained professionals who were required to complete a Master of Arts degree before even beginning their medical studies, surgeons and apothecaries were educated through a seven-year apprenticeship in accordance with the customs of the City of London. Surgeons were ostensibly required to be conversant in Latin in order to pass their church-mandated licensing examination, yet since this requirement was often waived or inconsistently applied, its lax enforcement provided physicians with a humanistic basis for asserting surgeons’ inferior understanding: they did not know their Latin and were therefore wholly ignorant of the medical tradition. Apothecaries, originally included within the Grocers’ Company, were unable to split off from it until 1617, when their efforts were assisted by a College of Physicians that had a vested interest in the Apothecaries’ pharmacological skills.Footnote 30 Though Turner was never admitted into the select and limited membership of the College of Physicians of London, his boasts of superiority over other medical practitioners were in keeping with the general attitude that the College took towards the subordinate practitioners it had, since 1518, been charged with overseeing.Footnote 31 By the end of the sixteenth century, all three groups of medical practitioners had attempted to use print to their advantage, but physicians’ early strategic deployment of Tudor herbals gave them a head start in the quest for medical authority.

Turner’s attitude towards printed books of English botany in 1538 might have been formed through a relationship to Thomas Gibson, whom I identified in Chapter 5 as the first figure in English botany to introduce an authoritative posture in order to limit the interpretive boundaries of his work. Gibson’s unillustrated third edition of The Great Herball (1539) both removed that work’s Catholic sentiments and added a preface that promoted physicians’ authority over all elements of medical care. A reconsideration of Gibson’s changes to the text sheds additional light on Turner’s early dismissal of the English herbals available for study. While in 1538 he may well have shared with Gibson the latter conviction about the authority of medical doctors, Turner himself was not yet a medical doctor directly invested in the elevation of physicians at the expense of other kinds of authorized medical professionals.Footnote 32 Evidence of just such an attitude is apparent, however, in Turner’s next botanical publication, published after he had become a physician.

The Names of Herbes (1548)

The Names of Herbes in Greke, Latin, Englishe, Duche & Frenche wyth the commune names that Herbaries and Apotecaries vse. Gathered by William Turner was published in 1548 by John Day and William Seres cum gracia & priuilegio and printed by Steven Mierdman. Eventually the holder of the patents for John Ponet’s catechism, the works of Thomas Becon, the Sternhold and Hopkins metrical psalter, and ABC with a Little Catechism, as well as the publisher of John Foxe’s Acts and Monuments, Day was arguably the most important stationer of his era and had an especially keen eye for saleable works, even early in his career. Day’s willingness to invest in Turner’s The Names of Herbes indicates that he believed there to be a viable market for a new English herbal, particularly one dedicated to the young King Edward VI. Day may have had a personal interest in herbals or simply wanted to flatter those who did, such as his patron William Cecil, who was especially fond of gardens. In his edition of physician William Cunningham’s The Cosmographical Glasse (STC 6119), for which, with Cecil’s aid, Day received a lifetime patent in 1559, Day commissioned a woodcut author portrait of Cunningham reading an illustrated herbal of Dioscorides beside a globe (Figure 7.1), signaling a relationship between cartography and botany that would increasingly figure in defenses of European colonial expansion.Footnote 33 Though Day printed most of his later books for himself, some of his earliest work was produced at the press of Steven Mierdman, an Antwerp printer resident in London between 1548 and 1553. In July 1550, Mierdman received a five-year generic grant of privilege from the king to print books at his own expense, but with the young king’s death, the Protestant Mierdman was forced to flee to Emden, where he died in 1559.Footnote 34

Figure 7.1 Portrait of William Cunningham from The Cosmographical Glasse (1559), sig. A3v.

The Huntington Library, San Marino, California (RB 60873).
During the better part of a decade that he spent in Europe during his first exile, Turner had investigated continental vegetation, attempting to reconcile his studies of the works of Pliny and Dioscorides with the new plants he encountered and collating them with his working knowledge of English flora that John Byddell had published as the Libellus in 1538. The Names of Herbes builds on the linguistic equivalencies in the earlier work, adding plant locations where known, as in his entry for Alnus, or alder trees (“it growth by water sydes and in marrishe middowes”).Footnote 35 Most of the work is devoted to reconciling his experience with classical description: “The best Gramen and moste agreying with Dioscoridis description, dyd I see in Germany with other maner of rootes.”Footnote 36 Occasionally, where he feels he has something to add or to correct in the works of authorities, Turner includes updated descriptions of plants that he mentions:

Typha growth in fennes & water sydes amo[n]g the reedes, it hath a blacke thinge Almost at the head of the stalke lyke blacke Veluet. It is called in englishe cattes tayle, or a Reedmace, in Duche Narren Kolb, or Mosz Kolb.Footnote 37

Throughout The Names of Herbes, Turner’s research into nomenclature is diverse and nonjudgmental, much like a modern-day descriptive linguist would produce. He offers names for the herbs of the ancients in a variety of languages, as well as the names that his contemporary apothecaries and “herbarists” actually use: “Seseli massiliense is called in the Poticaies shoppes, siler montanum, it may be called in englishe, siler montayne”; “Pistacia are called of the poticaries Fistica, they may be called in english Fistikes or Festike nuttes”; “Oxycantha is called in englishe as it is named of the poticaries berberes.”Footnote 38 By explaining how “poticaries” identify plants, Turner presumes a reader requesting simples at an apothecaries’ shop, indicating that he expects an audience who engages with apothecaries in their role as public merchants, not necessarily with apothecaries in their role as private healers. Such a feature hearkens back to the “exposycyon of the wordes obscure” feature of The Grete Herball, and Turner’s inclusion of “the Potecaries and Herbaries Latin” in his writings later becomes a central feature of the title page advertising for his larger, three-part herbal.

The distinction between apothecaries as vendors of prepared plants or as healers of patients is crucial to Turner’s larger authoritative goals in The Names of Herbes. In the period between the publication of his first herbal in 1538 and his second herbal in 1548, William Turner became a physician, and Turner’s investment in the medical authority of physicians over other members of the medical professions becomes clear. In the 1548 preface, Turner outlines the provenance of his latest botanical work, explaining that he had finished a Latin version of the text two years previously but had refrained from seeking to have it published after his fellow doctors urged him to provide a more comprehensive guide to English plants. His colleagues suggested instead that he investigate more broadly and, in particular, that he replicate the features of Fuchs’s successful De historia: “they moued me to set out an herbal in Englishe as Fuchsius dyd in latine with the discriptions, fisgures and properties of as many herbes, as I had sene and knewe.”Footnote 39

Yet an illustrated English work like Fuchs’s opus was impossible for Turner, or indeed any author, to produce on his own. As we have seen, an illustrated herbal requires a considerable outlay of capital from a willing printer able to invest in woodcut illustrations that can support an author’s text, as well as the support of craftsmen who can draw and carve them. Turner explains in his preface that he was unable to complete such a compilation at present, though he carefully suggests that he, as the author, is the limiting agent. He simply does not have the time, given his other responsibilities as physician and chaplain to the Lord Protector: “I could make no other answere but that I had no such leasure in this vocation and place that I am nowe in, as is necessary for a ma[n] that shoulde take in hande such an interprise.”Footnote 40 The codicological means by which his “vocation” could find its audience remains unmentioned – booksellers, block-cutters, and printers are nowhere to be seen. Turner’s business was not an issue, however, in his acquiescence to his friends’ other request, that he “at the least to set furth my iudgeme[n]t of the names of so many herbes as I knew whose request I have acco[m]plished, and haue made a little boke, which is no more but a table or regestre of suche bokes as I intende by the grace of God to set furth here after.”Footnote 41 Here, again, Turner leaves unmentioned the role of the publishers whose finances would enable his books to be made and “set furth,” as their agency and capital would undermine his careful maneuvering for political preferment. Characteristically, Turner follows up the account of his accomplishment with a direct request that the Lord Protector provide him with both leisure and a “co[n]venie[n]t place as shall be necessary for suche a purpose,” a request that, as his above-quoted letter to Cecil reveals, Turner felt had still not been adequately satisfied by November 1550.Footnote 42

Before concluding his 1548 preface with another appeal to the benevolence of Lord Seymour, Turner highlights his scholarly deference to the medical authority of classical authors, chiefly Galen, to signal his professional allegiance. In an assertion of his own empirical authority derived from personal experience, Turner hints at a mistrust of apothecaries’ judgment:

And because men should not thynke that I write of it that I neuer sawe, and that Poticaries shoulde be excuselesse when as the ryghte herbes are required of the[m], I haue shewed in what places of Englande, Germany & Italy the herbes growe and maye be had for laboure and money, whereof I declare and teache the names in thys present treates [treatise].Footnote 43

Turner’s botanical knowledge, gained by firsthand experience, is newly strengthened by his professional standing as a physician, which extended his authority over the body. Just as, in 1539, Gibson’s preface to The Great Herbal confirmed the righteousness of doctors’ control over all elements of ministry to the sick, so Turner’s 1548 preface concludes by declaring that the usefulness of his latest herbal will be confirmed by expert physicians: “howe profitable it shall be vnto al the sicke folke of thys Realme, I referre the matter vnto all them whiche are of a ryght iudgeme[n]t in phisicke.”Footnote 44 While in his Libellus of 1538 the naturalist Turner would suffer to be corrected by any “man of learning,” a decade later his work’s success or failure might be properly estimated only by those members of the medical caste in which he is now a member: formally educated physicians.

There are some limits to Turner’s new professional conceit as a doctor, but these are centered on the objects of his botanical observations. Though he is largely confident in his status as an authority, in The Names of Herbes Turner often indicates his unwillingness to pronounce a verdict on a given plant when the evidence is inconclusive: “Bacchar or Baccaris is the herbe (as I thynke) that we cal in english Sage of Hierusalem, but I wyll determine nothynge in thys matter tyl I haue sene further. Let lerned men examine and iudge”; “I heare saye that there is a better kynde of Buglosse founde of late in Spayne, but I haue not seene that kynde as yet”; “Chamaecyparissus is supposed of some men to be the herbe that we cal Lauander cotton, whose opinion as I do not vtterly reiect, yet …”Footnote 45 Such caution has suggested to botanical historians eager to cement Turner’s status as “the Father of British Botany” that he employed the skeptical scientific rigor espoused by modern science more than a century before the founding of the Royal Society. This may be true, but as Turner’s estimations center on a recognition of his own elevated subjectivity as a physician, it also seems clear that he views some kinds of botanical judgments as better than others, depending on the professional status of those who pronounce them. By 1548, then, Turner had internalized what Steven Shapin identifies as a key element in intersubjective trust, using his social and professional status to present to his readers authorized truth claims within printed English works of botany.Footnote 46

Authorizing the Medical Marketplace

Turner’s allusions to the advice of other physicians suggest his increasing bias towards the superior role of the medical establishment in the construction of an updated body of English natural philosophy. While Turner’s desire to discuss his botanical work with fellow physicians was perhaps not surprising, it is remarkable that he claims to have sought out their advice on the particulars of publishing it. As I have argued throughout this book, determining the reading market for a printed edition is the purview of a publisher who functions as a book’s speculative investor. A number of concurrences in Turner’s biography suggest that he was acquainted with at least one physician who was uniquely qualified to evaluate the saleability of his latest botanical work, someone who had recently edited, published, and printed an herbal himself: Thomas Gibson. Though no evidence survives suggesting a direct connection between the two men, biographers have charted several coincidences between Turner and Gibson: both were born in Morpeth and attended Cambridge, where they were noted for their commitment to Protestant reform.Footnote 47 Further, in 1548, both men had works published by the upstart publisher John Day shortly after Day had finally secured his right to retail books within the City. A short tract credited to Gibson, A Breue Cronycle of the Bysshope of Romes blessynge (STC 11842a), was published by Day and sold at his shop at the sign of the Resurrection “a little aboue Holbourne Conduite.”Footnote 48 While such surmises are not demonstrable, the coordination of two Morpeth-born physician-divines seeking publication from the same bookseller suggests that Day may have been particularly sympathetic to physicians’ engagement with print.

Day’s early biography provides additional hints that he was acquainted with printed medical texts, as well as those who used them. As a younger man, Day was apprenticed or otherwise in service to the physician Thomas Raynald, a printer of engraved pictures who was responsible for publishing the midwifery manual The Byrth of Mankynd (1540, STC 21153).Footnote 49 Raynald had been in London at least since 1540, when a deposition was made to the City on August 17 of that year by “Thomas Mannyng, John Borrell and John Day late servants to Thomas Reynoldes printer late dwelling at Hallywell nere unto London,” which asserted that a series of goods were Raynald’s own.Footnote 50 Among the jackets, gowns, and cloaks were a number of books, including works by Vincentius,Footnote 51 as well as two herbals, suggesting Raynald’s interest in medical books.Footnote 52 His effects also include a series of engraving plates for printing male and female anatomical figures with paste-in illustrated flaps, demonstrating Raynald’s awareness of how print could be used as a surrogate or supplement to a physician’s medical training. The midwifery volumes that Raynald published likewise indicate his cognizance that much-needed books of physic were still missing from the marketplace. If John Day had been Raynald’s apprentice or otherwise worked for him before he started printing and publishing on his own, Day would have directly observed Raynald’s navigation of the London market for medical books.

Day is now best known as the publisher of John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, but his early skill at observation and his extraordinary ability to recognize opportunity were instrumental in his later success. As no London company yet had authority over the craft of printing, it could be practiced by anyone, but, as I explained in Chapter 2, goods could be retailed in London only by those who were free of the city. At the time he was working for Raynald, Day was a foren, an Englishman who had not been born in London, which restricted his employment and freedoms within the City limits until he could obtain the status of freeman. Raynald’s standing in London was unclear, but as the deposition of 1540 does not identify him with any City company, it is likely that he primarily earned his living as a physician, a profession that did not take apprentices.Footnote 53

Day began printing in 1546, the same year that the company of Stringers (bowstringers) were permitted by the City to admit twenty redemptioners to their company. These new members gained their admission by paying a fee and, once done, became freemen, eligible to buy and sell retail goods as well as practice their craft. Though the names of those who were made free by redemption by the Stringers in 1546 are unknown, it is almost certain that Day was one of them.Footnote 54 He was “translated” (transferred) to the Stationers’ Company in 1550. By 1553, Day had received patents for a number of the most profitable books in England. These patents would eventually help Day become one of the wealthiest stationers of his era, but more than a decade before that he was in service to the physician Thomas Raynald at the same time that Raynald published the first (and possibly also the second) edition of The Byrth of Mankynd.Footnote 55 Raynald’s publication was the first English book to feature engraved illustrations, and the expense and complexity of providing these high-quality images testify to Raynald’s belief in their value.Footnote 56 The volume’s preliminaries highlighted that most of the listed remedies for ailments were Greek or Latin terms that would be unfamiliar to most lay readers, highlighting the necessity of an English work of linguistic glosses for plants that Turner’s The Names of Herbs later provided.Footnote 57 In bringing The Names of Herbes to Day to publish, then, Turner may have found himself a particularly sympathetic investor.

By the time that the first part of Turner’s A New Herball appeared in print in 1551, he had become fully persuaded that physicians were expert witnesses over the medical domain. He also had become something of a botanical evangelical, claiming that the study of plants, being tied to medicine, was of the highest order of knowledge ordained for men by God. Turner writes that “[a]lthough … there be many noble and excellent artes & sciences, … yet is there none among them all, whych is so openy com[m]ended by the verdit of any holy writer in the Bible, as is [the] knowlege of plantes, herbes, and trees, and of Phisick.”Footnote 58 Turner’s musings throughout his preface use biblical and apocryphal exegesis to define the value of botanical study and demonstrate the elevated role of the physician, who learns of the fruits of the earth and uses that knowledge to heal, and to teach, others. The physician’s status as an intellectual authority is central to these tasks, because “The knowledge of the Phisicio[n] setteth vp hys heade, and maketh [the] noble to wondre.”Footnote 59 While apothecaries might temper medical mixtures together, their efforts are merely mechanical deployments of the wonders of God’s creation: “his [the apothecary’s] workes bringe nothinge to perfecyon, but from the lorde commeth furth helth into all the broade worlde.”Footnote 60 By contrast, the physicians’ appreciation of the causes of illness through their investment in the Galenic systems that underlay healing better recognize the complexity that underwrites creation. Turner thus ultimately urges his readers to place their trust in God – and in God’s most hallowed professional servant: “My sonne in thy syckenes fayle not, but pray vnto God: for he shall heale [thee]: leue of synne, shewe straight handes, and clenge thy harte from all synne. And then afterwarde gyue place vnto the Phiscion, as to him: whom god hath ordened.”Footnote 61

This attitude of deference to physicians’ theoretical knowledge is not unique to English books but is typical of the larger herbal genre; the German Herbarius features a large woodcut on its title page depicting physician sages such as Galen and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) dictating their wisdom to the text’s engrossed author, whom the preface identifies as a “great master” of medicine in his own right.Footnote 62 The German Herbarius’ preface similarly highlights the way that the work is designed to demonstrate “the wonderful works of God, and His benevolence in providing natural remedies for all the ailments of mankind.”Footnote 63 Such Christian devotion became conventional, particularly as Renaissance herbal authors needed to navigate increasing numbers of works of classical and Arabic authorities. What is unique to Turner’s approach, however, is the way that a traditional deference to medical authority becomes explicitly religious in its commandments, synching the usual generic pieties with a clear and defined expectation for readers that conveniently aligns with the larger goals of the English medical profession: “gyue place vnto the Phiscion, as to him: whom god hath ordened.”

As Turner continues his sermon on the superiority of physic, the celestial privilege afforded to doctors comes to situate ever more terrestrial concerns. After he notes that the hallowed status accorded medicine is unique among the subjects available for study, he shifts his attention from religious and historical attitudes to medicine’s superior subject matter of the human form. Because “mannis body is more precious then all other creatures,” “so is Phisick more noble and more worthy to be set by, then all other sciences.” Turner argues that those who bring works of physic into being should be celebrated, for “howe great a benefit doth he vnto the commo[n] welth that with great study and labor promoteteth, & helpeth men to the knowledge of Phisick.”Footnote 64 The printed books of physic that can be read and studied are implicit in Turner’s formulation, as are the efforts of the authoring physician who makes it possible for physic to be studied to the betterment of the commonwealth. The implicit nature of the book form becomes even more explicit as Turner returns to a theme familiar from his Libellus of 1538. More physicians should apply themselves to authoring herbals, Turner suggests, because England’s national honor is at stake:

There haue bene in England, and there are now also certain learned men: whych haue as muche knowledge in herbes, yea, and more then diuerse Italianes and Germanes, whyche haue set furth in prynte Herballes and bokes of simples. I mean of Doctor Clement, Doctor Wendy, and Doctor Owen, Doctor Wotton, & maister Falconer. Yet hath none of al these, set furth any thyng, ether to the generall profit of hole Christendome in latin, & to the honor of thys realme, nether in Englysh to the proper profit of their naturall countre.Footnote 65

Turner supplies a rationale for these men’s refusals to write about plants, surmising that they do not want to risk their learned reputations by setting forth works in print in which others may find fault. Instead, Turner’s own botanical efforts will serve to remedy the gap left by his fellow physicians, who are too fearful of public reproach to risk their status. Here, then, as in Turner’s hunting tracts, the printed book is imagined to be a surrogate for its author, who may be made vulnerable by virtue of his works’ publicity. By exaggerating the hazard to his own reputation, Turner is thus able to elevate his status as the first Englishman to author a printed herbal in any language. Turner’s enthusiasm for plants can then be associated with the same nationalistic fervor that governed his reformist investment in the nascent Church of England:

I therfore darker in name, and farr vnder these men in knowledge, for the loue that I beare vnto my countre, and at the commandeme[n]t of your grace my lord and maister, I haue set one part of a great herball more boldly then wysely and with more ieopardy of my name then with profite to my purse, as I knowe by dyuerse other bokes, whych I haue set out before this tyme, both in English and in Latin.Footnote 66

As he thus supplicates in offering his work to Somerset, Turner’s status as servant to the Lord Protector (and, by extension, to the king himself) paradoxically enhances the authority over all aspects of medicine that he claims for his profession. Turner’s technique of what Erin Katherine Kelly called his “canny posture” in Romysh Foxe is once again deployed to authorizing effect as he positions himself as a gracious and knowledgeable public servant.

Turner’s claim to authority derives from his dissemination of specialized knowledge to an otherwise-ignorant public, but this role immediately opens him up to another criticism, one that he is particularly eager to preempt: Why would a trained physician make his profession’s expert understanding available to a wider audience by offering it not only in print but also in the vernacular? When physic manuals were written exclusively in Greek or Latin, knowledge of their contents required a modicum of humanistic training, but English works could be read by anyone literate in a populace that was ever increasing. Printing and selling books about medicine would therefore render physic public and able to be practiced by everyone, a deeply unsettling prospect, because it leads, according to Turner, to murder:

for now (say they) euery man with out any study of necessary artes vnto the knowledge of Phisick, will become a Phisician, to the hynderau[n]ce and minishyng of the study of liberall artes, and the tonges, & to the hurte of the comenwelth. Whilse by occasyon of thys boke euery man, nay euery old wyfe will presume not without the mordre of many, to practyse Phissick.Footnote 67

Turner’s surmised objection, that knowledge of physic printed in the vernacular would cause public harm, reaffirms his assertion of medicine’s scholarly primacy, begging the question of why anyone would bother with the study of “liberall artes” at all if not to practice medicine.

In his response to this anticipated criticism, Turner returns to his familiar theme of bettering the English public through education, an ethos that his biographer Whitney R. D. Jones calls Turner’s “Commonwealth thinking.”Footnote 68 Such views involve “a completely traditional approach to such matters as due degree, gentility (with its cognate obligation of liberality), vocation, and economic morality” alongside a redistribution of Catholic wealth in the service of “poor relief and education.”Footnote 69 Turner’s English herbal of remedies is thus a public service, one which ensures that physicians, those with access to the most authoritative, text-based information about functional medicaments, provide their medical inferiors with a comprehensive system of instruction that recognizes both their inherent intellectual limitations and the social circumstances in which all medical players (including physicians) are employed. Turner’s defense of printed physic is so extraordinary that it is worth repeating in full:

I make thys answer, by a questyon, how many surgianes and apothecaries are there in England, which can vnderstande Plini in latin or Galene and Dioscorides, where as they wryte ether in greke or translated into latin, of the names descriptions and natures of herbes? And when as they haue no latin to come by the knowledge of herbes: whether all the Phisicians of England (sauyng very few) committ not [the] knowledge of herbes vnto the potecaries or no, as the potecaries do to the olde wyues, that gather herbes, & to the grossers, whylse they send all their receytes vnto the potecary, not beyng present their to se, whether the potecary putteth all that shuld be in to the receyt or no? Then when as if the potecari for lack of knowledge of the latin tong, is ignorant in herbes: and putteth ether many a good ma[n] by ignorance in ieopardy of his life, or marreth good medicines to the great dishonestie both of the Phisician and of Goddes worthy creatures, the herbes and the medicines: when as by hauyng an herball in English all these euelles myght be auoyded: whether were it better, that many men shuld be killed, or the herball shulde be set out in Englysh? The same reason might also be made of surgeons, whether it were better [that] they should kyll men for lack of knowledge of herbes or [that] an herball shuld be set out vnto them in English, whiche for the most part vnderstand no latin at all, sauying such as no latin eares can abyde?Footnote 70

While surgeons remedy injuries such as wounds and broken bones themselves, offering their patients healing medicaments where needed, physicians refuse such mechanic practices, instead prescribing their remedies for illnesses that patients need to take to an apothecary to be filled. As apothecaries rarely gathered their own plants but were often beholden to grocers and “old wyues, that gather herbes,” the success or failure of both the surgeon and the physician’s enterprise was entirely dependent on the accuracy of the plant knowledge of these inferiors all the way down the line. If England was to avoid mass death through medical error, according to Turner, medical practitioners needed a standard means to check up on the accuracy of the old wives’ plant knowledge, and apothecaries needed a printed resource to guide their ministrations. Though Turner’s New Herball is directed as much to these kinds of practitioners as it is to his fellow physicians, his massive tome nonetheless serves to benefit the physicians’ authoritative interests. Once printed, Turner’s herbal could become a surrogate for physicians’ control over their medical subjects, a mirror of ecclesiastical dominance over an underinformed laity.

Turner’s mixing of religious and medical language continued through the remainder of his career, and by the third and final volume of his herbal, published posthumously in 1568, he did not let his physician peers off lightly. In order to oversee the efforts of surgeons and apothecaries (as well as those herb gatherers and old wives that they oversaw), he claims that physicians themselves needed to become conversant in simples, for “w[ith]out [the] knowledge wherof they can not deuly exercise their office and vocation where vnto they are called / for howe can he be a good artificer that neither knoweth the names of hys toles / nether the toles themselfes when he seeth.”Footnote 71 As for Turner’s nonmedical or lay readers engaged in a process of self-healing, a right that English men and women could claim through Henry VIII’s “Quacks’ Charter,”Footnote 72 Turner advises that they should not attempt medicine at all without first seeking the advice of a qualified professional. The herbal’s companion volume, The Booke of the Natures of Triacles (1568, STC 24360), admonishes, “I giue warning to all men and women that wil vse these medicines, that they take the[m] not in rashly and vnaduisedly, without the aduise and counsell of a learned phisition, who may tell them, whether they be agreeing for their natures and complexions and diseases or no.”Footnote 73

A large part of Turner’s defense of vernacular medical texts comes from his approval of those who self-educate only when they recognize the authority of others who claimed oversight over particular knowledge domains. The printed book therefore provided opportunities for authors to become teachers, an extension of pastoral practice. Turner’s 1568 herbal was dedicated to “the right worshipfull Felowship and Companye of Surgiones of the citye of London chefely / and to all other that practyse Surgery within England,” not only because its contents most readily benefited that group of medical practitioners but because this group was particularly committed to a botanical education.Footnote 74 Such approval emerges even in his address to Elizabeth, where Turner promotes the value of a humanistic education by conspicuously complementing the queen’s Latin instruction, rendering his appeal for Elizabeth’s patronage oddly patronizing:

when as it pleased your grace to speake Latin vnto me: for althought I haue both in England / low and highe Germanye / and other places of my longe traueil and pilgrimage / neuer spake with any noble or gentle woman / that spake so wel and so much congrue fine & pure Latin / as your grace did vnto me so longe ago: sence whiche tyme howe muche and wounderfullye ye haue proceded in the knowledge of the Latin tonge / and also profited in the Greke / Frenche and Italian tonges and other also …Footnote 75

Turner’s paradoxical status as Elizabeth’s medically authoritative subject is made possible through his authoring a text that, though dedicated to her majesty, is really intended for the good of her commonwealth: “my good will considered / and the profit that may come to all youre subiects by it / it is not so small as my aduersaries paraduenture will esteem it.”Footnote 76

Turner’s endorsement of the broader benefits of education appears to have been genuinely meant and was consistent throughout his career. This “Commonwealth thinking,” then, helps Turner overcome the potential collision between his sympathies as a reformer and his professional identity as a physician, and it is his bibliographic awareness that makes such a synthesis possible. Throughout his works, Turner gives his support for the widest possible dissemination of both religious and secular knowledge in print, downplaying concerns that the specialized knowledge of the professional classes is dangerous when known outside of its authorized sphere. Instead, the printed book, when properly authorized and disseminated widely, may be used for the spiritual and the physical benefits of all Englishmen.

Making Physic Public
As Turner’s endorsement of physicians’ biblical and social authority leads him to honor the writings of his professional forebears, he becomes vulnerable to the familiar insecurity of early modern authors concerned their would-be patrons might believe the slander of envious rivals. Turner particularly fears that he might be charged with an offense that could render his attempt at obtaining patronage null and void: “for some of them will saye / seynge that I graunte that I haue gathered this booke of so many writers / that I offer vnto you an heape of other mennis laboures / and nothinge of myne owne / and that I goo about to make me frendes with other mennis trauayles.”Footnote 77 In other words, Turner worries that the very bookishness of his botanical scholarship puts him at risk for charges of plagiarism. Citing others – particularly living others – in his work might be viewed as theft, and Turner seems aware of the criticism that Christian Egenolff had leveled at Leonhart Fuchs a few decades earlier: despite Fuchs’s pretense of authorship, his own knowledge is, to a publisher like Egenolff, just the stuff of other books. If so, anyone could engage in this craft of synthesis, particularly when it comes to depicting God’s creation. To preemptively defend himself and claim the text of his herbal as his own work, Turner cites both the authority of classical authors and the early modern custom of commonplacing. His apt defense makes traditional use of the metaphor of honeybees’ collection of nectar and returns to his own title page identification as a “gatherer”:

To whom I aunswere / that if the honye that the bees gather out of so manye floure of herbes / shrubbes / and trees / that are growing in other mennis medowes / feldes and closes: maye iustelye be called the bees honye: and Plinies boke de naturali historia maye be called his booke / allthough he haue gathered it oute of so manye good writers whom he vouchesaueth to name in the beginninge of his work: So maye I call it that I haue learned and gathered of manye good autoures not without great laboure and payne my booke …Footnote 78

By more than a century, Turner’s claim of the “laboure and payne” he took in 1568 in composing, correcting, and compiling his herbal prefigures John Locke’s 1690 assertion in the Two Treatises of Government (Wing L2766) that “every Man has a Property in his own Person … the Labour of his Body, and the Work of his Hands, we may say, are properly his.”Footnote 79 Through his efforts to “learn” and “gather,” Turner has synthesized what knowledge has come before him and supplemented it with his own. Through his labor in making his book, Turner thereby fulfills the physicians’ ordained role and served the commonweal by making it possible for the secrets of God’s creation to be publicly known.

Turner’s defense in his preface contains two parts. First, he echoes the same defense used by the Frankfurt printer Christian Egenolff when Egenolff was charged with the violation of Johannes Schott’s privilege for copying the woodcuts of the physician Otto Brunfels’s Herbarum vivae eicones, which I discussed in Chapter 1. Because his subject matter is the nature of God’s creation, Turner insists, only God can rightfully claim authority over information about plants. Second, Turner claims that even though he did examine the printed works of his predecessors, he took pains not to rely too heavily on the work of any one of them. As Leah Knight notes, Turner’s strategy is paradoxical, resting “the defense of his work as his own on the fact that it is compiled from so very many authors. By his logic, a little plagiarism is a dangerous thing, but a lot is authorship.”Footnote 80 Turner mentions Fuchs, Tragus,Footnote 81 Dodoens, and Mattioli by name, noting that he relied on their writings less to acquire new information than to confirm his own experience.Footnote 82 By virtue of what Locke later understands as the right of property through labor, Turner’s gathering from others’ works, coupled as it is with his own experiential evaluation, serves to enable him to claim of his book that “I haue something of myne owne to present and geue vnto your highness … Wherefore it may please your graces gentelnes to take these my labours in good worthe.”Footnote 83 Because Turner’s labors include the correction of others’ works, then, the availability of other printed herbals does not diminish but actually reinforces his claims to authority over English botany.Footnote 84

The physician William Turner’s reputation as a herbalist and a reformer remains unmarred by any charges of “plagiarism” or unoriginality that might otherwise accompany modern scholarly interpretations of his conspicuous borrowing from the works of his predecessors. That was not the case for the barber-surgeon John Gerard, however, who, in writing his herbal just half a century later, has been subject to a very different notion of the responsibilities of authorship. Despite his considerable civic prominence during his lifetime and his unremarkable use of the conventions of the herbal genre, historians have largely labeled Gerard’s intellectual contributions to botany illegitimate. Even as Turner’s humanistic endeavors to compare the works of the ancients with his own experience were celebrated, Gerard’s authority as a textual “gatherer” was rejected. The following chapter examines the provenance of Gerard’s Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes to show that newly developing expectations of the responsibilities of an editor-compiler, coupled with the continued elevation of physicians, have created an erroneous but lasting impression that Gerard was less an authoritative herbalist than a scheming plagiarizer.

Chapter 8 John Norton and the Redemption of John Gerard

In the previous chapter, I demonstrated that William Turner’s “commonwealth thinking” enabled him to navigate the competing notions for textual authority that emerged in his writing. Turner’s bibliographic self-consciousness, his awareness of how print could serve his professional and spiritual interests, continued to develop over the course of his careers as a physician, natural historian, and divine. For Turner, disseminated printed books could serve as surrogates for their absent author, multiplying a singular text’s impact by being in many places at once. Yet printed books could also serve as nuanced opportunities for authors to display their domination over a knowledge domain that was – thanks to print – ever increasing. As more and more printed herbals emerged on the continent, herbalists like Turner needed to manage not only their own investigations into plants but also the threat of information overload.Footnote 1 Paradoxically, because it is much easier to edit and revise a printed codex than to assemble a large manuscript book from scratch, the affordances of print helped authors sort and manage these concerns, and Turner continued to revise earlier editions of his magnum opus even as he wrote new material.

By coupling his roles of natural historian and reformer, Turner’s commonwealth thinking caused him to view his role within printed English botany as serving as a local authority gathering botanical knowledge on England’s behalf, incorporating the work of foreign others into his native own. Though he expresses some trepidation that his synthesis may be seen as the product of other men’s labor, Turner insisted that his acts of approval and correction simply brought accuracy to existing accounts of the beauty of God’s creation – a creation that has only one true Author. As he sought to make herbal knowledge widely known within the English commonwealth, Turner could therefore evaluate continental herbal editions and amplify those authors whose accuracy he found worthy of citation; and where other herbalists were found wanting, Turner could use his own work as an opportunity to correct their deficiencies. Turner’s appeal to the English herbalist’s communal role, and his bibliographic ego, would cast a long shadow upon the English herbals that followed.

In the concluding chapter of this book, I show how Turner’s anthological approach to herbal authorship was widely understood to be a feature of the genre by returning to the large, illustrated herbal that was the subject of my prologue: John Gerard’s Herball, or General Historie of Plants, first set into print by Bonham and John Norton in 1597 (Figure 8.1).Footnote 2 This commodious work of 1,392 folio pages (plus preliminaries and indexes) contained 2,190 distinct woodcuts, including the first printed illustration of the potato.Footnote 3 Gerard’s Herball was remarkably successful: it was twice reprinted, and it remained an authoritative botanical textbook through the eighteenth century. Copies of the book were regularly bequeathed by name in wills, and as we have seen, poets such as John Milton profitably mined its descriptions for details about plants and their uses. Yet despite the evidence of Gerard’s wide renown among his contemporaries, his reputation as a herbalist has suffered from accusations of plagiarism that have plagued discussions of his work since the publication of the book’s revised second edition in 1633. This chapter will explain how this narrative about Gerard’s 1597 Herball came about, paying close attention to the perspectives of the volume’s publishers to reveal that the logic of the traditional account of Gerard as a plagiarist makes little sense in the context of early modern herbal publication.

Figure 8.1 John Gerard, The Herball or General Historie of Plants (1597).

Image reproduced courtesy of the Ohio State University Libraries’ Rare Books & Manuscripts Library (Shelfmark QK 41 G3).
Thinking Materially about The Herball (1597)

Because of their complex and expensive formatting, large herbals are a monumental publishing endeavor, and illustrated printed books like The Herball often found their genesis not in individual authors but in the publishers who would finance and profit from the sale of such books. Such conditions were foundational to the genre: in 1542, Leonhart Fuchs singled out his publisher, Michael Isingrin, as being put to “enormous expense in publishing this work,” an effort that Fuchs tried to honor in the dedicatory epistle to De historia stirpium. The book’s imperial decree was designed to protect not Fuchs’s authorial rights but Isingrin’s substantial financial investment. Unfortunately, the accuracy of images of God’s creation proved hard to protect with a royal privilege, and, as I reveal in Chapter 1, the illustrations of De historia were soon copied by other publishers eager to market herbals of their own. Within three decades, the collaborative woodblocks of plants made by Albrecht Meyer, Heinrich Füllmaurer, and Viet Rudolf Speckle for Fuchs’s herbal had been copied and recopied in books throughout Europe – including in Turner’s celebrated Herball of 1551–1568.Footnote 4 As early modern readers’ demands for illustrated herbals increased, the woodblocks that supplied these botanical images were likewise in high demand among the publishers who catered to these customers. Matched sets of botanical woodblocks became commodities that could generate rental incomes for the publishers who owned them. Accessing a suitable set of woodcuts, therefore, was a priority for any publisher who wished to invest in an illustrated new herbal but who did not have the extraordinary resources required to commission thousands of woodblocks for themself.Footnote 5

I have argued throughout this book that historians of herbals need to “think materially” in order to better understand the way that the genre developed in early modern England from unillustrated, anonymous small-format books into the massive folio tomes authored by the “fathers” of English botany. Thinking materially involves recognizing the commercial and artisanal agents who were responsible for a book’s production, and it inhibits the hasty, but common, critical instinct to credit a work’s appearance in print to the author responsible for its verbal text. Attention to the ways that printed books circulated as valuable commodities reveals that this impulse to “author-ize” printed artifacts can be misleading; when reading the book as a crafted object, the complexity of the thing we call “Gerard’s Herball” reveals that its creation was instigated not through the textual efforts of the man whose name eventually prominently appears on the work’s engraved title page but through the investment and the skill of the book’s manufacturers. In Brett Elliott’s words, a volume like Gerard’s Herball was “a publisher-led book.”Footnote 6

In order to net a profit, a printing project on the scale of The Herball needed to be led by someone with advanced management and marketing skills. John Norton would later become one of the most successful English stationers of his age, a figure whose systematic comprehension of the European book trade would enable him to be the primary bookseller to Sir Thomas Bodley, the founder of Oxford’s Bodleian Library.Footnote 7 Like his stationer forebear John Day, Norton’s aptitude for evaluating and selecting books to invest in was demonstratively superior to that of his contemporaries, a talent that served Norton well from the moment he obtained his freedom of the City in July 1586. Norton had been bound to his uncle, the bookseller William Norton, as an apprentice quite late, at the age of twenty-one, and his maturity upon his freedom seven years later allowed him immediately to locate opportunities for profit in the import trade. John Barnard identifies his skill as a “cultural broker and facilitator … Norton’s business shows how far early seventeenth-century capitalism depended upon the effective utilisation of the openings provided by kinship, clientage, patronage, and government favour.”Footnote 8 Key to Norton’s lasting relationship to Bodley was the stationer’s deep familiarity with continental and English book trends, a familiarity that allowed Norton to notice that, despite the English translations of Dodoens that occasionally reappeared in London bookshops, an Englishman had not authored an illustrated vernacular herbal since the last publication of William Turner in 1568. Such a considerable investment required careful planning, and what Norton did in response to this perceived gap in the marketplace suggests his awareness that there were requisite elements of the herbal genre that English readers expected to have satisfied if they were to lay out large sums of money for what would be a massive and expensive volume.

In order to produce an illustrated herbal, Norton needed both a text and the means to produce images, and while potential English herbalists seem to have been common enough (Turner listed several qualified Englishmen in his 1551 New Herball, and the community of naturalists on Lime Street was growing), complete sets of botanical woodblocks were a much more limited resource.Footnote 9 Norton therefore may have started his project by locating the means to produce botanical illustrations, reasoning that he could source both a text and (if needed) a party to reconcile image and text together, once the woodblocks were secured. Norton’s connections to continental booksellers allowed him to acquire a large set of botanical woodblocks that had previously been used in a herbal published in Frankfurt in 1590: Nicolaus Basseus’s edition of the Eicones plantarum of Tabernaemontanus (USTC 642288). It is also possible that Norton settled on the production of a new English herbal only after being presented with an opportunity to rent the set of woodblocks sometime after Eicones appeared in print. (The blocks were later returned to Basseus, who used them for subsequent editions.) Correctly anticipating that a new, illustrated English herbal would necessarily be a sizable investment, Norton persuaded his cousin Bonham Norton to share the costs – and the risks – of financing the large publication.

At 371 edition-sheets, The Herball was the second-largest book that Bonham and John Norton would ever finance, putting it in the top 1 percent of the largest books published during the entire STC period of 1475–1640. Assuming a modest print run of only 500 copies, the paper alone for The Herball would have cost the Nortons more than £135, an expense they would have needed to bear upfront in order to enable their hired printer to start printing. The labor costs for composition and impression would be nearly as much again. The Herball’s paper volume dwarfs even the Shakespeare First Folio (227 sheets), making it comparable to folio editions of the Authorized Version of the Bible (366 sheets). Even then, however, printing the first edition of the Authorized Version in 1611 was expensive – so much so that the King’s Printer Robert Barker had to borrow money to finance it. (Incidentally, Barker reached out to the wealthiest stationers he could find: Bonham Norton and John Bill, John Norton’s former apprentice and agent in continental affairs.)Footnote 10

Publishing large books like the Bible was expensive enough, but illustrated books posed additional problems. The Herball’s large size and its thousands of woodcut illustrations meant that it was an unusually complicated book to produce, requiring production skills of the highest order. For its printing, the Nortons hired Edmund Bollifant, a partner in the syndicate of Eliot’s Court Press, thereby ensuring that the text would be accompanied not only by the botanical woodcuts Norton had rented but also by the syndicate’s impressive suite of ornamental capitals. More importantly, Bollifant was familiar with the challenges of the genre: he had recently printed an illustrated herbal of his own, a “corrected and emended” third edition of Henry Lyte’s English translation of Rembert Dodoens’s Cruydeboeck (1595; STC 6986). The Herball was such a monumental undertaking that it accounted for more than half of the Eliot’s Court Press’s output in 1596 and 1597. John Norton entered the rights to the title “sett forthe in folio and in all other volumes with pictures and without” on June 6, 1597.Footnote 11

Yet how – and when – did John Gerard get attached to John Norton’s herbal project? Most explanations of the provenance of The Herball’s textual content derive not from the evidence of the 1597 text itself but from the preface to the second edition of 1633, another “publisher-led enterprise,” published at the behest of John Norton’s widow Joyce and her business partner Richard Whitaker.Footnote 12 On its title page, Joyce Norton and Whitaker’s 1633 edition was marketed as being “very much enlarged and amended” by the London apothecary Thomas Johnson, whom Norton and Whitaker hired to carry on the accretive herbal tradition by updating Gerard’s earlier text and annotating it with his own observations. The 1633 edition was just as described: despite Johnson’s efforts to streamline the text, its bulk increased to a whopping 431 edition-sheets per copy, straining the limits of what could be bound in a single codex. (When Robert Cotes would enter the rights to John Parkinson’s Theatrum botanicum into the Stationers’ Registers two years later, he would highlight its size, calling it “an herball of a Large extent.”Footnote 13 When it was finally published in 1640, Parkinson’s book was even slightly larger than the revised Gerard, requiring 442 edition-sheets per copy.)

Johnson’s many additions and emendations in 1633 to the earlier text included a new address to the reader that was designed, in his words, to “acquaint you from what Fountaines this Knowledge may be drawne, by shewing what Authours haue deliuered to vs the Historie of Plants, and after what manner they have done it; and this will be a meanes that many controuersies may be the more easily vnderstood by the lesse learned and judicious Reader.”Footnote 14 Johnson’s musings on the history of botanical study begin with King Solomon and pass through a variety of classical authors including Aristotle, Galen, and “The Arabians” before turning to more recent authors like Ruel, Brunfels, and Fuchs, whose publications he lists by both date and format. Johnson’s survey offers a useful expression of the breadth of botanical books, many published only on the continent, that were available to an urban professional in London in the 1630s, thereby confirming what Leah Knight calls “the bookishness of early modern botanical culture.”Footnote 15 Like Turner, Johnson evaluates the work of his predecessors: authors are praised for their innovations, but he also occasionally offers reproofs for errors or for deceitful practice. Both Mattioli and Amatus Lusitanus are found wanting, “for as the one deceiued the world with counterfeit figures, so the other by feined cures to strengthen his opinion.”Footnote 16 When he comes to Tabernaemontanus, Johnson notes that the woodcuts used in his book were “these same Figures was this Worke of our Author [i.e., Gerard] formerly printed.”Footnote 17

Upon arriving at Gerard, Johnson’s comprehensive botanical history slows to include a brief biography of the authoritative figure whom Johnson’s editorial efforts are designed to serve. Yet, when approaching the more recent history of Gerard’s life, Johnson becomes less careful. He claims that Gerard died in 1607, “some ten years after the publishing of this worke,” when Gerard actually lived until 1612 and continued to be a figure of considerable status in the Barber-Surgeon’s Company after his term as Master in 1607. As Johnson was an apothecary, his lack of familiarity with the history of the Barber-Surgeons is understandable, but his biography of Gerard reveals that tensions among London’s three types of authorized medical practitioners of physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries also carried over into the herbals of the seventeenth century. After the Society of Apothecaries had finally broken free of the powerful Grocers’ Company in 1617 only with the assistance of the Royal College of Physicians, the Apothecaries’ professional loyalties were clear, and evidence of them can be seen in Johnson’s attitudes towards the barber-surgeon Gerard. Johnson commends Gerard’s efforts in extending herbal knowledge on behalf of the nation but finds his expertise wanting: “His chiefe commendation is, that he out of a propense good will to the publique aduancement of this knowledge, endeauoured to perfome therein more than he would well accomplish; which was partly through want of sufficient learning.”Footnote 18 Just as the physician Turner suggested that contemporary apothecaries were ignorant of their subjects, so does the apothecary Johnson suggest that the barber-surgeon Gerard lacked a proper education. He criticizes Gerard for being insufficiently “conuersant in the writings of the Antients,” and takes Gerard to task for having “diuided the titles of honour from the name of the person whereto they did belong,” errors that might better be ascribed to one of Bollifant’s compositors than to the text’s author.Footnote 19 That Johnson’s indignation finds its source in professional jealousy soon becomes clearer as Johnson explains that his caviling was prompted by Gerard’s Herball having generated a fame outstripping what Johnson feels is deserved: “I haue met with some that haue too much admired him, as the only learned and iudicious writer.”Footnote 20 In the three decades since its publication, Gerard’s massive Herball had dominated English herbalism, blocking other herbalists from view. For Johnson, then, Gerard’s Herball met with its success because it proved insufficiently intertextual, misleading the “lesse learned and judicious” readers that he addresses in his own preface. By the end of the address, Johnson’s narrative of the herbal genre may be read retrospectively, when it becomes less an informative chronicle than a defensive intertextual correction designed to remedy what he sees as Gerard’s profound anthological failure. For all Renaissance botanists, including Johnson, the solution to a problematic book was always another book.

Johnson’s indignant professional position also helps to explain what comes next, an account of Gerard’s authorship of The Herball that builds on these earlier charges of insufficient learning by charging Gerard with the more serious accusation of plagiarism. In their discussions of plagiarism, Christopher Ricks and Peter Shaw have maintained that the offense doesn’t consist merely in using the work of another author but in doing so “with the intent to deceive.”Footnote 21 While copying another’s work for one’s own use is widely acceptable in the early modern practice of commonplacing, allowing for the publication of such work as one’s own deceives readers who might be unable to locate their original source.Footnote 22 In this way, plagiarism is distinguished from more acceptable uses of others’ work such as quotation, imitation, repetition, and allusion, all of which are, by virtue of the accuracy of their attribution, ethically acceptable. The offense of plagiarism is thus a moral one, an attempt at dishonesty. As we saw in Chapter 1, herbalists and physicians writing for print publication had long accused each other of illicit copying – such accounts regularly appear in the pages of Fuchs and the other herbalists that Johnson mentions as they updated old works. Despite (or perhaps because of) the humanist Republic of Letters that saw naturalists sharing samples, woodcut images, and plant descriptions throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the field of herbalism also saw incidents of acrimony, accusations, and disdain.Footnote 23 Some herbalists, like Mattioli and L’Obel, were notoriously embittered by other naturalists’ success, itemizing their failures and finding fault with any work that inadequately commended their own. Calling out contemporaries for their insufficient citation and acknowledgment was thus wholly conventional in herbals, especially by the early 1630s, when Johnson was invited by Norton and Whitaker to edit Gerard’s Herball. His indignation is at once opportune (provided by the occasion of a new reprint of an old edition) and entirely orthodox.

In his account of “how this Work was made vp,” Johnson carries on herbals’ tradition of paratextual recrimination by asserting that Gerard’s 1597 text derived from a lost translation of Rembert Dodoens’s Stirpium historiae pemptades sex (USTC 401987) that had been begun by a “Dr Priest,” probably Robert Priest, then a member of the College of Physicians of London. Dodoens’s Pemptades had been published in Antwerp by Christopher Plantin in 1583 and Johnson reports that “shortly after” Priest had been hired to translate the work from Latin into English “at the charges of Mr. Norton,”Footnote 24 confirming that the creation of what later became known as “Gerard’s Herball” was prompted not by an originating author but by an originating stationer. Though Johnson’s goal with this summary is to undermine Gerard’s authority, the story that Johnson tells of The Herball’s provenance is the tale of how an expensive and specialized edition of a book eventually came to be produced. Priest, however, died “either immediately before or after the finishing of this translation,” and Priest’s manuscript translation of Pemptades then found its way into Gerard’s hands, according to an unnamed someone “who knew Dr. Priest and Mr. Gerard.”Footnote 25

What was eventually published in 1597 as The Herball was ultimately not just a translation of Dodoens but a much larger, and decidedly more English, volume. Gerard drew on his extensive knowledge of English flora as well as his firsthand knowledge of how exotic foreign plants would fare when transported into the English climate. Johnson explains this discrepancy between Dodoens’s and Gerard’s texts by noting that Gerard reorganized his volume to fit the botanist Matthias de L’Obel’s new system of classification that ordered plants not by pharmacological use value but by their morphological characteristics. In Gerard’s Herball, plants are grouped together according to their kinds, enabling readers to examine what makes one species of basil or wolfsbane distinct from another. Johnson claims that Gerard’s primary goal in adopting L’Obel’s classification scheme was to disguise evidence of his use of Priest’s translation: “Now this translation became the ground-worke whereupon Mr. Gerard built vp this Worke: but that it might not appeare a translation, he changes the generall method of Dodonaeus, into that of Lobel, and therein almost all ouer followes his Icones both in method and names, as you may plainly see in the Grasses and Orchides.”Footnote 26 Johnson’s moral position is clear and damning: “I cannot commend my Author for endeauouring to hide this thing from us.”Footnote 27

Johnson’s indignation on Priest’s behalf is largely baseless. Gerard could read (and write) in Latin, and he could easily have accessed Dodoens’s Pemptades without Priest’s intervention simply by acquiring a copy of Plantin’s 1583 edition. What’s more, as Robert Jeffers has noted, Gerard’s Herball included not only those plants suitable for medical use but also those with culinary and aesthetic applications as well as new exotics, and as a result, “Dodoens’ classifications would not have answered his purpose fully.”Footnote 28 Further, because Gerard was taking his own botanical notes through the 1570s, his organizational structure would have been determined long before Pemptades was first published, and it reasonably bears evidence of influence from Pena and L’Obel’s Stirpium aduerseria noua (1570–1571; STC 19595).Footnote 29 As Gerard approached the task of reconfiguring his work to suit Norton’s commission, he continued to use the classification method with which he was most familiar. Gerard’s use of L’Obel’s method of organizing his subject matter had little to do with Priest’s translation of Dodoens, but because Johnson’s goal is less to defend Priest than to demonstrate Gerard’s inadequacy as a herbalist and as a botanist, his critique rests in finding fault with Gerard’s technical capacity. Johnson suggests that Gerard was stymied by the woodblocks Norton presented him:

this fell crosse for my Author, who (as it seemes) hauing no great iudgement in them, frequently put one for another … and by this means so confounded all, that none could possibly haue set them right, vnlesse they knew this occasion of these errors. By this means, and after this manner was the Worke of my Author made vp, which was printed at the charges of Mr. Norton, An. 1597.Footnote 30

While Johnson’s account of Gerard’s matching woodblocks with the wrong descriptions seems damning, these kinds of errors are as likely to result from a compositor’s mistakes in a print shop, as occurred with Peter Treveris’s accidental swapping of the woodblocks for bombax and borage that I discussed in Chapter 5.

A verification for Johnson’s account appears to come from a book published in 1655, an edited collection of L’Obel’s writings from a manuscript written shortly before L’Obel’s death in 1616. In Stirpium illustrations, L’Obel claimed that Gerard had used his work without proper acknowledgment, and he reports that he had been hired by Norton to edit Gerard’s manuscript once its inadequacies had become apparent. L’Obel and Gerard had at one time been friendly, and L’Obel had even lent his name to Gerard’s writings, providing a substantial commendatory letter for the 1597 Herball. Shortly before The Herball was finished printing, however, Gerard and L’Obel had fallen out, and L’Obel’s grudge against Gerard continued for the remainder of his life. If Johnson’s account of the making of the original volume is correct, then L’Obel’s story of Gerard’s failures provides additional verification for the charges of plagiarism that were leveled against Gerard. Yet there is little reason to trust L’Obel, and his biographer, Armand Louis, is not convinced that his account of editing Gerard is true. Louis notes there are no contemporary reports testifying to L’Obel’s version of the events, adding that the botanist, particularly in his old age, was often cantankerous. “It is not impossible,” Louis surmises, “that L’Obel’s concerns and accusations were merely the ruminations of a rancorous and embittered old man who felt threatened by others’ authoritative rise in his dearly-loved field.”Footnote 31

Bookish details in L’Obel’s biography put additional strain on his veracity and help to explain his animus. A Flemish physician, L’Obel had first come to London as a Protestant refugee in the late 1560s, when he settled in the Flemish hub of Lime Street. In 1570–1571, L’Obel and Pena collaborated to produce Stirpium aduersaria noua, which was entered by Thomas Purfoot into the Stationers’ Registers and later printed. Even though Purfoot obtained the license to print Stirpium, it was L’Obel who appears to have funded its publication. In 1603, the Flemish author wrote a letter complaining that, of the original print run of 3,000 copies, he still had 2,050 remaining.Footnote 32 That print run was double what the Stationers’ Company would eventually set as the maximum for a single edition, and at 120 edition-sheets, the expense for L’Obel must have been enormous.Footnote 33 “Thank God it is all paid for,” L’Obel explained to L’Ecluse, “but the booksellers haven’t allowed it to make a profit.” By 1576, Purfoot had sold 800 copies of Stirpium to Plantin to bind with copies of Plantin’s edition of L’Obel’s Plantarum seu stirpium historia (STC 19595.3), a deal that also included Plantin acquiring the set of botanical woodblocks that Purfoot had used in printing his London edition.Footnote 34 Outside of the bulk sale to Plantin, Pena and L’Obel’s Stirpium aduersaria noua sold exceptionally poorly, with only about 150 copies being purchased over three decades.Footnote 35 What appears to have happened is that Pena and L’Obel, recent immigrants, radically misjudged the English marketplace for herbals when they paid to publish their own work in its original Latin rather than translating it. Familiar with the bestselling herbals of Fuchs and Mattioli on the continent, the pair overestimated the audience in England for an expensive Latin herbal, as well as interest on the continent for a Latin herbal that had been printed in London and dedicated to a Protestant queen. Writing reflectively at the end of his life, L’Obel was thus motivated as much by the failure of his Latin herbal to find readers (a failure he blamed on English booksellers), and his jealousy of Norton’s support for Gerard, as he was by Gerard’s textual malfeasance.Footnote 36

Johnson’s and L’Obel’s case for Gerard’s plagiarism has been picked up by historians and oft repeated, but Johnson’s evidence for vilifying Gerard breaks down even in the telling.Footnote 37 As Johnson reports it, the book that became Gerard’s Herball began not with Gerard at all but with a publisher’s recognition of an opportunity to profit: “Mr. Norton,” surveying what Christopher Plantin was doing on the continent, saw room in the marketplace for an English translation of Dodoens’s Pemptades and sought to commission one.Footnote 38 Recognizing that successful printed herbals are illustrated, Norton also acquired a large sequence of woodblocks. These blocks corresponded to the text of a different herbal, but it seems clear that Norton reasoned he could hire someone to reconcile Tabernaemontanus’s images with Dodoens’s text. The anthological impulse of the early modern herbal can thus be found not simply in the textual “gathering” of the authors so identified on these books’ title pages but also in the material efforts of the publishers who assembled their herbal commodities from parts.Footnote 39 This facet of herbals’ material forms is revealing: if Johnson’s unnamed informant was accurate, and John Norton actually did commission a translation of Dodoens from Priest, the stationer owned the rights to use that text in whatever form he chose thereafter – which included handing off the manuscript to someone else once Priest was unable to finish it. Stephen Bredwell, one of Gerard’s commendatory verse writers in 1597, suggests that exactly such a thing happened:

The first gatherers out of the Antients, and augmentors by their owne paines, haue alreadie spread the odour of their good names, through all the Lands of learned habitations. D. Priest, for his translation of so much as Dodonæus, hath thereby left a tombe for his honourable sepulture. M. Gerard coming last, but not the least, hath many waies accommodated the whole work vnto our English nation.Footnote 40

In saying that Gerard “accommodated” those who came before him, Bredwell not only recognizes Gerard’s anthological “gathering” efforts but endorses them, celebrating Gerard’s synthesis in the volume’s new English presentation. In other words, the “commonwealth thinking” of William Turner was recognized and celebrated when it reappeared in the writings of his native successor.

Thus, with Priest’s death and inability to finish his translation, John Norton had a problem, but it was one that was solved by a bookseller with a talent for figuring out what a public would buy. His choice to deploy Gerard as his herbal’s authorial figure was a smart one: while Priest was relatively unknown, Gerard in the 1590s was a gardener of some celebrity. He had been superintendent to the gardens of Sir William Cecil, Baron Burleigh, at Burleigh’s residences in the Strand and at Hertfordshire since 1577, filling the void for botanical patronage in Cecil’s service following the death of William Turner in 1568. In addition to tending Burleigh’s gardens, Gerard had a large garden of his own in Holborn near the River Fleet. He was of such renown that in 1586 he was appointed curator of the garden of the College of Physicians, which would otherwise have had no reason to grant such authority to a mere barber-surgeon. Through his associations with Cecil, Gerard gained many advantages, including access to the latest plant specimens from the Americas and status in the growing botanical scene of Renaissance Europe, acquainting him with the leading physicians, scientists, and botanists visiting London and the Court. In 1597, Gerard was appointed Warden of the Barber-Surgeons’ Company, and after the publication of The Herball, his status in London only continued to increase: by August 1604, Gerard had been appointed surgeon and herbalist to James I, and he was elected Master of the Barber-Surgeons’ Company on August 17, 1607.Footnote 41 Historical accounts from a variety of sources reveal that, unlike Priest, Gerard’s fame and influence were significant enough in late Elizabethan London to have sold books on its own. In short, there is a clear rationale why a savvy stationer like Norton would have wanted Gerard’s name on a book he produced. Gerard’s biographer, Robert Jeffers, suggests that he had been working on a herbal project throughout his career as a surgeon, and Norton’s offer would have been a welcome opportunity to “accommodate” that manuscript into an expanded and revised form.Footnote 42

In his own address to the reader, dated December 1, 1597, Gerard made the form, and the anthological nature, of his work clear. He writes,

I haue here therefore set downe not onely the names of sundry Plants, but also their natures, their proportions and properties, their affects and effects, their increase and decrease, their flourishing and fading, their distinct varieties and seuerall qualities, as well of those which our owne Countrey yeeldeth, as of others which I haue fetched further, or drawene out by perusing diuers Herbals set forth in other languages, wherein none of my country-men hath to my knowledge taken any paines, since that excellent Worke of Master Doctor Turner.Footnote 43

In admitting to “perusing diuers Herbals,” Gerard both echoes and cites his English forebear William Turner, who admitted to having “learned and gathered of manye good autoures” in the writing of his own book.Footnote 44 Turner’s defense, as I and others have noted, relies on the breadth and diversity of his gathering, as well as on the way that Turner justifies this synthesis as being for the good of the English nation. It is not surprising, then, that Gerard’s account continues by specifically focusing on his fellow “country-men” who have contributed to the herbal genre: “After which time Master Lyte a Worshipfull Gentleman translated Dodonaeus out of French into English: and since that, Doctor Priest, one of our London Colledge, hath (as I heard) translated the last Edition of Dodonaeus, and meant to publish the same; but being preuented by death, his translation likewise perished.”Footnote 45 Missing from this account is Pena and L’Obel, whose status as foreign nationals residing within England rendered their contributions to English botany unworthy of inclusion in this particular list. Gerard’s account of English-language herbals written by Englishmen, then, is in keeping both with the extant evidence and with what John Norton saw in the marketplace before commissioning the book that bears Gerard’s name and advertises his status as a high-ranking Londoner on its title page.Footnote 46

Gerard’s book is, like the herbals that came before it, inherently intertextual, drawing from its predecessors and, in turn, providing its successors with ample opportunities for allusion, borrowing, and correction. In using Gerard’s Herball as a guide for his botanical exegesis, John Milton was following in the footsteps of other authors; decades earlier, in his Poly-olbion (1612), Michael Drayton had identified the author as “skilful Gerard.”Footnote 47 Editions of Gerard or quotations taken from them appear in the libraries of John Donne, Anne Southwell, Elizabeth Freke, and Lady Anne Clifford, among many others.Footnote 48 Gerard’s reputation also continued through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the works of John Coakley and Sir Joseph Banks testify that Gerard’s Herball in its various editions continued to be of use in their own naturalist studies. Gerard’s Herball remained a reference text to students of botany through the nineteenth century; as late as 1806, Richard Weston noted that “[a]t this day the book is held in high esteem, particularly by those who are fond of searching into the medicinal virtues of plants.”Footnote 49 Descriptions of copies held in rare book libraries throughout the world suggest that many copies of Gerard’s Herball saw heavy use, bearing evidence of plants being pressed between their pages.

Yet the intertextuality of The Herball that makes it so valuable is not restricted to its verbal and illustrative botanical content; it can also be seen in the volume’s organizational form and structure. The Herball’s detailed indexes indicate that the book was especially suited for use as a reference text, and the indexes’ interconnectivity suggests that Gerard (and his publisher) depended upon readers’ familiarity with similar finding aids from works such as Gibson’s edition of The Grete Herball of 1539 and Wyer’s innovative later editions of the little Herball.Footnote 50 Plants were listed in Gerard’s Herball by their proper names in both English and Latin, and each entry was keyed to a page reference; other indexes were organized according to the illnesses or injuries that simples distilled from the listed plants could treat or provided equivalency tables uniting proper names with their local or regional monikers. English readers of herbals had been familiar with these tables for some time, but The Herball’s indexes were so comprehensive that the book could be useful for both those searching for medical remedies and those who were interested in plants for their own sake. Whether they were Gerard’s innovation or, more likely, Norton’s, the indexes ensured that The Herball could serve a variety of readers. Gerard’s massive and comprehensive tome was considered so useful to Stuart medical practitioners that it was specifically bequeathed in a surgeon’s will of 1628, which offered to “George Peren, barber-surgeon, my yearball known by the name of ‘Gerard’s Yearball.’”Footnote 51 As a result of the book’s extended value for Renaissance readers, editors of early modern texts still consider Gerard’s Herball a valuable resource in explaining contemporary botanical knowledge, and for this reason the volume is cited regularly in the commendatory notes of Shakespeare’s plays where botanical elements play a significant role.Footnote 52

Johnson was correct that his author’s book in 1597 had actually been initiated by its publisher, but he seemed less willing to acknowledge that he, too, in 1632, had been subjected to the same commercial bibliographic impulses. Though Johnson complains to his readers that he was forced to work quickly, he tries to obscure who the commissioning agent was that set the clock ticking: “But I thinke I shall best satisfie you if I briefely specifie what is done in each particular, hauing first acquainted you with what my generall intention was: I determined, as wel as the shortnesse of my time would giue me leaue, to reetaine and set forth whatsoeuer was formerly in the booke described, or figured without descriptions.”Footnote 53 As he lists his numerous mechanisms for “enlarging” and “amending” the 1597 Herball, Johnson positions himself as an authoritative and active subject, even though the book he corrects does not actually recognize him as its author. An inattentive reader might be forgiven for thinking that it was Johnson’s initiative alone that necessitated Gerard’s text being updated and reprinted for sale in 1630s London.

Yet, of course, in commercial terms, it wasn’t really Johnson’s project at all. The impetus for the creation of the second edition of The Herball was its publishers, and it derived from their noticing the appearance of a competing English volume: John Parkinson’s Paradisi in sole paradisus terrestris. Or A Garden of all sorts of pleasant flowers which our English ayre will permit to be noursed vp: with A Kitchen garden of all manner of herbes, rootes, & fruites, for meate or sause vsed with vs, and An an Orchard of all sorte of fruit-bearing Trees and shrubbes fit for our Land together With the right ordering planting & preseruing of them and their vses & vertues (1629, STC 19300). Though Parkinson’s book did not list plants’ medical virtues and was not technically a herbal but a horticultural treatise, Paradisi borrowed many of the genre’s elements in its account of English kitchen gardens, floral gardens, and orchards.Footnote 54 Moreover, Parkinson’s composition of Paradisi was, as is traditional with herbals, anthological and derived from his perusing the work of others, particularly the herbals of his fellow Englishmen. Having surveyed the bibliographic field, Parkinson found space for his elevation of flowers because the topic had been little approached:

In English likewise we haue some extant, as Turner and Dodonaeus translated, who have said little of Flowers, Gerard who is last, hath no doubt giuen vs the knowledge of as many as he attained vnto in his time, but since his dates we haue had many more varieties, then he or they euer heard of, as may be perceived by the store I haue here produced.Footnote 55

To stationers like Joyce Norton and Richard Whitaker, who happened to hold the rights to copy Gerard’s text, Parkinson’s Paradisi was a wake-up call that a market for English herbals not only continued to exist but needed an update;Footnote 56 and Parkinson himself promised soon to provide one:

I haue beene in some places more copious and ample then at the first I had intended, the occasion drawing on my desire to informe others with what I thought was fit to be known, reseruing what else might be said to another time & worke; wherein (God willing) I will inlarge my selfe, the subiect matter requiring it at my hands, in what my small ability can effect.Footnote 57

Recreating what her late husband had done over three decades earlier, Joyce Norton and her business partner Richard Whitaker sprang into action. The first thing they needed was a set of botanical woodblocks, and Whitaker knew just where to turn. By the 1630s, the Plantin Press in Antwerp had assembled a comprehensive collection of botanical woodblocks that numbered in the thousands. In 1632, Christopher Plantin’s grandson, Balthasar Moretus I, managed the shop and Whitaker turned to Moretus to supply the woodblocks that were needed to reprint an edition of Gerard’s Herball.Footnote 58 Whitaker requested the blocks in July of 1632 and, a month later, they were on their way to England. Another set followed in September. All told, Norton and Whitaker rented almost 3,000 woodcuts, comprising images that had appeared in the most recent works of Dodoens, L’Obel, and Carolus Clusius. These found their way to Johnson: “Now come I to particulars, and first of figures: I haue, as I said, made vse of those wherewith the Workes of Dodonaeus, Lobel, and Clusius were formerly printed, which, though some of them be not so sightly, yet are they generally as truly exprest, and sometimes more.”Footnote 59 Yet time, the bane of Johnson’s editorial efforts, was of the essence, as Moretus wanted his blocks back as soon as possible, for without them he could not publish any new botanical treatises at all, and his printing house was in high demand. Both in England and in continental Europe, the technical and financial constraints upon publishers and printers limited the activities of authors and authorial figures like Thomas Johnson.

Johnson did work very, very quickly: his letter to the reader is dated October 22, 1633, and it must have been written after most of the volume had been printed by Adam Islip, who may also have shared in the publication costs of the edition. In just over a year, Norton and Whitaker had commissioned and produced a formidable tome that enabled them to continue to profit from Gerard’s name and reputation while simultaneously offering for sale the latest and best botanical images offered anywhere in Europe (Figure 8.2). Their investment paid off: the 1633 edition sold well and sold fast – so much so that, despite an increasingly irate sequence of letters from Moretus desperate for the return of his woodblocks, Norton, Whitaker, and Islip kept them long enough to reprint another revised edition of the herbal in 1636 (STC 11752).Footnote 60 Extremely protective of their investment, Norton, Whitaker, and Islip even went so far as to petition King Charles to have their work protected by royal decree, lest anyone try to publish an epitomized, or shortened, version of it. On March 1, 1633, a letter was brought to the Stationers’ Company wardens from the king “that none pr[e]sume to imprint any Abridgment or Abstract of their Copie called Gerards Herball.”Footnote 61 For forty years after its initial publication, Gerard’s Herball dominated the marketplace for English herbals thanks not to the efforts of its putative author but because of the strategic maneuvering of its publishers.

Figure 8.2 John Gerard, The Herball or General Historie of Plants (1633).

Image reproduced courtesy of the Ohio State University Libraries’ Rare Books & Manuscripts Library (Shelfmark QK 41 G35).
Redefining Textual Authority

As I have shown, Gerard’s agency had little to do in organizing the publication of the book that bears his name, though his efforts to gather and to supplement what became The Herball’s text were central to its success. What is curious about the censure of Gerard in botanical histories is the singling out of this early modern botanist above all others as guilty of the complex and anachronistic crime of plagiarism. The previous chapters of this book reveal that the majority of sixteenth-century English herbalists and publishers of herbals drew material from the works of their predecessors, taking what information they thought relevant and discarding or dismissing the rest; furthermore, especially in the case of the accompanying woodcut illustrations, copying was the norm rather than the exception. Stationers, acutely aware of competition from other publishers, sought to differentiate their texts by adding the name of an established authority or supplemental material based upon an editor’s personal experience. Later, stationers added detailed indexes to their herbals to make their texts more user-friendly, simultaneously justifying the higher costs of their illustrated editions by suggesting that owners of their texts would be able to self-medicate and no longer require the services of physicians and apothecaries. An examination of herbal literature printed in England between the little Herball of 1525 and the publication of Gerard’s Herball in 1597 indicates that, rather than being guilty of plagiarism, Gerard was writing and compiling his text in accordance with the norms and customs of printing herbals in England during the Tudor period.

It is evident from examining the printing history of early modern herbals that not only were woodcut illustrations and paratextual materials borrowed and copied from one botanical text to another but the written works of earlier herbalists provided a starting point for later ones. In some cases, herbals began as translations of an earlier work in a different language, but a translator’s incorporation of their own commentary into the text was in keeping with the anthological approach to botanical study that had begun with the German Herbarius of 1485. Thus sixteenth-century English herbals became more collaborative as the century progressed – not only were herbalists directly referencing each other but they were often aiding each other’s publications by trading illustrations and plant specimens.Footnote 62 Alternatively, they were also denigrating each other’s work and citing multiple inaccuracies in order to justify their own updated or corrected works. A modern scholar of herbal literature of this period can view this conflation of texts either as an incidence of mass plagiarism and unscrupulous scientific citation or as evidence of a rapidly developing science practiced by an expanding circle of recognized experts who circulated their work in print.Footnote 63 By the time Gerard entered the botanical scene at the end of the century, more than half a dozen large volumes of plant lore had been on the market for decades. Expecting Gerard to author a completely original text in such an environment would be unreasonable, and, as John Norton and later Joyce Norton knew, publishing such a wholly original work would likely have been unprofitable.

Most of the sixteenth-century herbalists in England and on the continent took material from the works of their predecessors to confirm or to refute their own observations. As the Frankfurt printer Christian Egenolff pointed out in his disputes with Johannes Schott and Leonhart Fuchs in the 1530s and 1540s, this borrowing is reasonable: there is a limit to the originality that natural historians can claim in their accounts of God-created nature. Copying was the norm rather than the exception as early botanists sought to organize the rapidly increasing printed information available about plants into a comprehensive system. While they circulated through the channels of the book trade, herbals were locations for plant investigators to publish theories that could later be assessed by fellow and competing botanists in their own herbal publications – and to do this they needed to quote, borrow, and build upon each other’s work.

Yet botanists did not use herbals only as occasions for disagreements about the particulars of plant characteristics and classifications. Because plants are by their nature rooted in place, a comprehensive understanding of them across ecosystems was necessarily dependent on an observer’s ability to travel to gather specimens. One reason for the infamous tulip craze in Europe in the seventeenth century was the bulbs’ capacity for traveling very long distances while suffering little damage. Tulip bulbs are easily transported, while other plants are more firmly rooted in their geographies: it is more difficult to bring a tree or a shrub from overseas and guarantee its survival in transit, let alone nurture it through its lifespan in a hostile new climate. Herbalists like Gerard therefore itemized the exotic plants that they could raise in their gardens to demonstrate what plants could survive the London winters.Footnote 64 Herbals authored in other regions could solve the problem of geographical deficiency for landlocked botanists by enabling them to acquire information about species that were outside of their own climates of reference. One of The Herball’s commendatory letter writers, the surgeon Thomas Thorney, notes that, by bringing his private expertise into the public sphere, Gerard’s Herball makes his work a public service. Thorney celebrates the ways that the work is a representation of Gerard’s Holborn garden, but Thorney also hints that books make plants accessible to those who cannot travel to them:
Of simples here we do behold
     Within our English soyle,
More store than ere afore we did,
     Through this thy learned toyle:
And each thing so methodicall,
     So aptly coucht in place,
As I much muse, how such a worke
     Could framed be in such space.
For in well viewing of the same
     We neede not far to rome,
But may behold dame Natures store
     By sitting still at home.Footnote 65

Thorney’s advocacy for Gerard celebrates both Gerard’s book learning and his hands-on botanical experience, but his poem also suggests that books themselves serve the needs of readers by bringing the outside indoors. The mechanical process of illustrative and textual reproduction extends the reach of a single plant specimen and individually prolongs the life of an individual flower. The celebration of “well-cut” herbals prescribed by Robert Burton in 1621 thus finds its seed in the preliminaries of earlier illustrated works. Yet the capacity for herbals to serve as surrogates for visits to local places also led to their adaptation in the service of colonial enterprise. As Christopher M. Parsons has shown, the description of plants in the travel accounts authored by American explorers embedded travelogue readers in landscapes that allowed them to imagine inhabiting and settling such spaces themselves.Footnote 66 It is not difficult to see how both the content and the forms of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century herbals could later serve the imperial needs of eighteenth-century colonial botany.

For his part, Gerard knew that his anthological labor was by no means finished. In his dedication to Cecil, Gerard explains that, through his participation in the collaborative effort of Renaissance botany, he expects others to find errors in his opus. He insists that by gathering together the text he has “ministered matter for riper wits, and men of deeper iudgment to polish; and to adde to my large additions where any thing is defectiue, that in time the worke may be perfect.”Footnote 67 Gerard repeats these sentiments later in his address to his readers; he has presented “a worke, I confesse, for greater clerks to vndertake, yet may my blunt attempt serue as a whetstone to set and edge vpon some sharper wits, by whome I wish this my course discourse might be both fined and refined.”Footnote 68 Since 1633, John Gerard has endured little from history but scorn. His “course discourse” was not perfect, and the anthological means by which it came to be is no longer fashionable. Yet was John Gerard a thief, a plagiarist? Time and botanical scholarship have often told us so; but more time and more investigation into the agents who made and sold herbals in early modern London seem to tell us otherwise.

Gerard’s later status as an “authoritative English herbalist” was not simply the result of Gerard’s own activity; it was a marketing strategy first produced by John Norton in 1597 that was later reinforced by Joyce Norton and Richard Whitaker in 1633 and 1636. The famous gardener would soon be Master of the company of Barber-Surgeons and he was known to many at court through his service to William Cecil – putting Gerard’s name on a book about plants in 1597 was simply good business. Recognizing the preeminence of stationers in the production of English herbals helps scholars recognize the ways that scientific authorship and scientific expertise were necessarily limited by commercial concerns. Before botanists could emerge to “authorize” herbals, the genre first needed to become a vendible print commodity. Early anonymous works like the little Herball and The Grete Herball demonstrated to printers and booksellers that they could make money manufacturing books about plants in the English vernacular; and as the reading public grew and demand for these texts increased, medical practitioners like physicians soon realized that print offered them a venue for professional advancement. By asserting their authority over this new genre of the printed English herbal, physicians like Thomas Gibson and William Turner could likewise proclaim their authority over the professional sphere of vernacular healing, mimicking the ways that print was used to encourage Protestant reform. The decisions that John Norton made when he chose to publish a new English herbal in 1597 show that he was fully cognizant of the genre’s history and that he recognized what could make these books so popular and so profitable. Thirty years later, when preparing Gerard’s Herball for its second edition, Joyce Norton and Richard Whitaker recognized that professional apothecaries like Thomas Johnson and John Parkinson also had a vested interest in promoting and authorizing the herbal genre. Attending to the “stationer-function” therefore helps to demonstrate how herbal authors devised their texts in response to printers’ and booksellers’ material and financial concerns. It was through the commodification of English herbals as occasions and locations for botanical knowledge that the “fathers of English botany” became authorized experts.


Chapter 7 William Turner and the Medical Book Trade

1 Whitney R. D. Jones, “Turner, William (1509/10–1568), Naturalist and Religious Controversialist,” ODNB.

2 Quoted in Benjamin Daydon Jackson, William Turner: Libellus de Re Herbaria 1538, The Names of Herbes 1548 (London: privately printed, 1877), iv. The letter is listed in R. Lemon (ed.), Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reigns of Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth 1547–[1603], Preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty’s Public Record Office, vol. 1: 1547–1580 (London, 1856), 31; C. S. Knighton (ed.), Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series of the Reigns of Edward VI, 1547–1553; Mary I, 1553–1558, 2 vols. (London, 1992, 1998).

3 The first part of Turner’s A New Herball (STC 24365) was printed in 1551; it was a relatively slim forty-three edition-sheets. The second part was printed in 1562 (STC 24366), which also included a treatise on baths; this edition was much larger (100 edition-sheets). Finally, in 1568, the final version of Turner’s herbal was published (STC 24367), comprising a reprint of the first part of 1551, a reissue of unsold sheets of the second part of 1562, a new third part, and a reissue of the unsold sheets of the treatise on baths; this edition was 184 edition-sheets.

4 See Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), esp. chap. 7, “The Book of Nature Transformed.”

5 See Knight, Of Books and Botany, chap. 3. Knight’s chapter deftly uses Turner’s reforming tendencies to account for his development of plant nomenclature, finding that “the subordination of the linguistic and elevation of the imaginative aspect of naming sets the botany of Turner’s day in close relation to poetry” (66).

6 In Avium praecipuarum (STC 24350.5), his 1544 treatise on birds dedicated to Prince Edward, Turner suggests that it is vital that princely wisdom exceed that of his counselors, so that he is able to tell good advice from bad. Turner even goes so far as to insist that one should prefer the findings of one’s own senses over those reported by others. See Turner on Birds: A Short and Succinct History of the Principal Birds Noticed by Pliny and Aristotle, ed. and trans. A. H. Evans (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903), 5. This linking of doctrinal and terrestrial matters comes to a head in Turner’s A New Book of Spiritual Physic (1555).

7 Erin Katherine Kelly, “Chasing the Fox and the Wolf: Hunting in the Religious Polemic of William Turner,” Reformation 20 (2015): 113129; 116.

8 Kelly, “Chasing the Fox and the Wolf,” 118, 119.

9 William Turner, The Huntyng of the Romyshe Vuolpe (Emden: Egidius van der Erve, 1555), sig. A2v.

10 William Turner, The first and seconde partes of the herbal lately ouersene, corrected and enlarged with the thirde parte, lately gathered. Also a booke of the bath of Baeth (Cologne: Heirs of Arnold Birckman, 1568), sig. *2v.

11 The marriage was solemnized on November 13, 1540; a statute effective July 12, 1539, had declared that those in religious orders who had sworn a vow of celibacy were forbidden to marry upon penalty of death. See Eric Josef Carlson, “The Marriage of William Turner,” Historical Research 65 (1992): 336339.

12 Also available modernized in Hughes and Larkin, Tudor Royal Proclamations, 1:374. For an analysis of Turner’s anti-Catholic tracts, see Rainer Pineas, “William Turner’s Polemical Use of Ecclesiastical History and His Controversy with Stephen Gardiner,” Renaissance Quarterly 33 (1980): 599608, and Rainer Pineas, “William Turner and Reformation Politics,” Bibliothèque D’Humanisme et Renaissance 37 (1975): 193200.

13 Byddell, who also went by the title of “John Salisbury,” had been apprenticed to Wynkyn de Worde and served as his executor at the time of de Worde’s death in 1534. Throughout the 1530s, Byddell was a frequent publisher of the works of Erasmus as well as many religious titles with an anti-papal bent, and the crown made particular use of Byddell to issue works sympathetic to Henry VIII’s interests in justifying the schism with Rome. See John Archer Gee, “John Byddell and the First Publication of Erasmus,” ELH 4 (1937): 43–59. In 1534, Byddell had printed Turner’s English translation of Watt’s Ye Olde God & the Newe (STC 25127) for the publisher William Marshall as part of Marshall’s Cromwell-approved anti-papal propaganda campaign, and perhaps Turner sought out Byddell as his Libellus publisher out of respect for the pair’s shared religious sympathies. See Alec Ryrie, “Marshall, William (d. 1540?),” ODNB.

14 Translation from William T. Stern, in William Turner: Libellus de Re Herbaria 1538, The Names of Herbes 1548 (London: Ray Society, 1965), 4.

15 Translation from Raven, English Naturalists, 68.

16 On the relationship of English universities to those of the continent, see Faye Getz, “Medical Education in Later Medieval England,” in Vivian Nutton and Roy Porter (eds.), The History of Medical Education in Britain (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1995), 7693.

17 On the relative tolerance for Protestant students at Italian universities, see Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 191193.

18 Turner identified himself as the “servant” of Edward Seymour until Somerset’s death in 1552 and dedicated his Names of herbes to him (Jackson, William Turner, 16). Jackson also notes that “whilst abroad [Turner] received a college benevolence of 26s. 8d in 1542” (17), indicating that Turner’s first exile may have been at least partly legitimated as a necessary segment of his university studies.

19 William Turner, Libellus de Re Herbaria (London: John Byddell, 1538), sig. A1v.

20 Translation from Raven, English Naturalists, 69.

21 Turner, First and Seconde Partes, sig. *2v, emphasis added. In Abecedarium Anglico Latinum (1552; STC 13940), Richard Huloet describes cacographia as “Ill wrytynge,” a usage similarly employed by Thomas Blount a century later in his Glossographia or a Dictionary (1656; Wing B3334): “ill writing, or a writing of evill things.” Raven maintains that the Libellus cannot be the Latin herbal that Turner speaks of in 1568 (English Naturalists, 68) and presumably assumes that what Turner meant was the Historia de naturis herbarum scholiis & notis vallata (1544) mentioned by Benjamin Daydon Jackson, but the existence of this text is disputed, even by Jackson. See Jackson, William Turner, 27.

22 In 1568, Turner may simply have been following the example set for him by Fuchs, who had lamented in De historia (1542) that his contemporary physicians were not better versed in plant lore: “by Immortal God, is it to be wondered at that kings and princes do not at all regard the pursuit of the investigation of plants, when even the physicians of our time so shrink from it that it is scarcely possible to find one among a hundred who has an accurate knowledge of even so many as a few plants?” (translated in Arber, Herbals, 67).

23 Translation from Raven, English Naturalists, 69.

24 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. G5r.

25 Turner, A New Herball, sig. A2r. On the multiple editions of Ruel, see Stannard, “Dioscorides,” 9.

26 Eisenstein, Printing Press, 71–80. As books contributed to cross-cultural exchange, authors endorsed additional mechanisms for exclusion, such as “Christendome,” that would later serve Orientalist discourses. See Angela Barreto Xavier and Ines G. Županov, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian Knowledge (16th–18th Centuries) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

27 Ogilvie, Science of Describing, 207.

28 William Turner, The Seconde Parte of William Turners Herball (Cologne: Arnold Birckman, 1562), sig. L5r.

29 Turner, Seconde Parte, sig. R4v.

30 See Pelling and Webster, “Medical Practitioners,” 165–235.

31 For an extended treatment of the regulatory activities of the College of Physicians throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see Pelling, Medical Conflicts.

32 Tudor analogies of the body politic that positioned certain agents as healing physicians were commonplace, but as Whitney R. D. Jones notes, “Turner’s specialist knowledge enabled him to employ this device with particular and often picturesque effect, while his fervent advocacy of the need for religious reform encouraged him to extend its use into that field also.” See William Turner, Tudor Naturalist, Physician, and Divine (London: Routledge, 1988), 3. Turner’s A New Booke of Spirituall Physik (1555; STC 24361), ostensibly “Imprented at Rome by the vaticane churche,” was Turner’s most extended treatment of this device. See Rainer Pineas, “William Turner’s Spiritual Physik,” The Sixteenth Century Journal 14 (1983): 387398.

33 Christopher M. Parsons, A Not-So-New World: Empire and Environment in French Colonial North America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).

34 On Day, see Elizabeth Evenden, Patents, Pictures and Patronage: John Day and the Tudor Book Trade (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008), C. L. Oastler, John Day, the Elizabethan Printer (Oxford: Oxford Bibliographical Society, 1975); Peter W. M. Blayney “John Day and the Bookshop That Never Was,” in Lena Cowen Orlin (ed.), Material London, ca. 1600 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 322343; and Peter W. M. Blayney, “William Cecil and the Stationers,” in Robin Myers and Michael Harris (eds.), The Stationers’ Company and the Book Trade 1550–1990 (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 1997): 1134, esp. 20–22. On Mierdman, see Duff, Century, 105.

35 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. A7r.

36 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. D4r. In one entry, Turner limits his comments by virtue of the plant’s familiarity with readers: “Fragraria is called in english a strawberry leafe, whose fruite is called in englishe a strawbery, in duche Erdeber, in frenche Fraysne. Euery man knoweth wel inough where strawberries growe” (sig. D2v).

37 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sigs. G6v–G7r. See also the entry for Astragalus: “It growth in the mountaynes of Germany, and hath leaues and stalkes lyke a pease, blacke little rotes with knoppes lyke acorns, Fuchsius toke thys herbe to be apios, but the discription agreeth not” (sig. B4r).

38 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sigs. G2v; F3v, E8v.

39 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. A2v.

40 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. A2v.

41 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. A3r.

42 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sig. A3r.

43 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sigs. A3r–A3v. Such an attitude is also evident in the body of the work itself, as in Turner’s entry on Myrica: “The Poticaries of Colon before I gaue them warning vsed for thys, the bowes of vghe, & the Poticaries of London vse nowe for thys quik tree, the scholemaisters in Englande haue of longe tyme called myrica[m] heath, or lyng, but so longe haue they bene deceyued al together. It may be called in englishe, Tamarik” (sig. E5v).

44 Turner, The Names of Herbes, A3v.

45 Turner, The Names of Herbes, sigs. B4v, B6v, C1v.

46 See Shapin, Social History of Truth, p. xxvi.

47 Because neither man admits to knowing the other in extant records, any connection between Turner and Gibson remains conjectural. John Hodgson was among the first to note the parallels between Gibson’s and Turner’s careers: both were born in Morpeth and educated at Cambridge where they were influenced by growing Reformation sympathies. See John Hodgson, Memoirs of the Lives of Thomas Gibson … Jonathan Harle … John Horsley … William Turner (Newcastle upon Tyne: Charles Henry Cook, 1831), 911. See also Raven, English Naturalists, 52.

48 Duff, Century, 55. Though John Bale credits Gibson with authorship of this pamphlet, Blayney notes that “we have only Bale’s word that it was written by Gibson. See Blayney, Printers of London, 392.

49 Eucharius Roesslin’s Rosengarten was originally published in Worms in 1513. See Blayney, Printers of London, 439–443.

50 Henry R. Plomer, “Notices of English Stationers in the Archives of the City of London,” Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 6 (1901): 1327, 20. See also Blayney, Printers of London, 440nA.

51 Vincentius Bellovacensis, or Vincent of Beauvais, a French Dominican friar, was the author of the three-part Speculum majus, an encyclopedic work of natural history used as a medical resource by Chaucer and others. See Pauline Aiken, “Arcite’s Illness and Vincent of Beauvais,” Publications of the Modern Language Association 51 (1936): 361369.

52 Blayney identifies the item in the list as not two herbals, one of English and one Latin, but a single bilingual herbal; however, if Blayney is correct, then what is referred to must be a manuscript book as no such printed text then existed. Herbals are often itemized together in book lists and more likely is Raynald having had a copy of either the little Herball or The Grete Herball as well as a copy of a text like Turner’s Libellus. Along with John Wight and Abraham Veale, another Thomas Raynald (“Reynolds”), possibly the physician’s son, was apprenticed to Draper Thomas Petyt in 1540 and was freed (as a Draper) on August 29, 1547. It is therefore probable that the Raynalde (his preferred spelling) the Draper saw Petyt’s version of the little Herball through the press in 1541. After he was freed, Raynalde took over Petyt’s shop, where he later printed the 1552 edition of The Byrth of Mankynd. See Blayney, Printers of London, 441–443.

53 That Thomas Raynalde, his son or kinsman, bound himself to a Draper further hints that the elder Raynald did not have master status within a London company.

54 Blayney, “John Day,” 329.

55 Day was also of sufficiently close acquaintance with Barber-Surgeon William Tylley that he witnessed Tylley’s will. See Evenden, Patents, 4.

56 On the masculine nature of the authoritative posturing of The Byrth of Mankynd, see Caroline Bicks, Midwiving Subjects in Shakespeare’s England (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003); on its reception, see Jennifer Richards, “Reading and Hearing The Womans Booke in Early Modern England,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 89 (2015): 434462.

57 Eucharius Roesslin, The Byrth of Mankynd, Otherwyse Named the Womans Booke (London: Thomas Raynald, 1540), sig. C3r.

58 Turner, A New Herball, sig. A2r. For a broader examination of the early modern physician’s relationship to God, see Jones, William Turner, 101–102.

59 Turner, A New Herball, sig. A2r.

60 Turner, A New Herball, sig. A2r.

61 Turner, A New Herball, sig. A2r.

62 Joseph Frank Payne, “On the ‘Herbarius’ and ‘Hortus Sanitatis,’” Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 6 (1900–1901): 63126.

63 Translation from Payne, “On the ‘Herbarius,’” 94–95.

64 Turner, A New Herball (1551), sig. A2v.

65 Turner, A New Herball (1551), sig. A2v.

66 Turner, A New Herball (1551), sig. A3r.

67 William Turner, A New Herball (1551), sig. A3v.

68 Whitney R. D. Jones, William Turner: Tudor Naturalist, Physician, Naturalist, and Divine (London: Routledge, 1988), 187. See also Whitney R. D. Jones, The Tudor Commonwealth 1529–1559 (London: Athlone Press, 1970).

69 Jones, William Turner, 187–188.

70 Turner, A New Herball, sig. A3v.

71 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *3r.

72 See 34 and 35 Henry VIII c. 8, Statutes of the Realm, 3:906.

73 William Turner, The Booke of the Natures of Triacles (1568), sig. G1r.

74 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *2r.

75 Turner, Thirde Parte, sigs. *2r–*2v.

76 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *2v.

77 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *2v. On the common Renaissance trope of authors as bees transforming their models into honey, see G. W. Pigman III, “Versions of Imitation in the Renaissance,” Renaissance Quarterly 33 (1980): 1–32.

78 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *2v.

79 John Locke, The Two Treatises of Government (London, 1690), sigs. R3r–R3v.

80 Knight, Of Books and Botany, 49.

81 Hieronymus Boch was a German botanist whose Kreuterbuch of 1546 was illustrated with images based on those found in the herbals of Fuchs and Brunfels. “Tragus” was his assumed Latin name.

82 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *3r.

83 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *3r, emphasis added.

84 Turner may have been particularly eager to proclaim his position as an authority because of a recent indignity he had suffered when an unknown printer offered an unauthorized version of his Hunting of the Romish Wolfe as The hunting of the fox and the wolfe, because they make hauocke of the sheepe of Christ Iesus (1565, STC 24357). The material manifestation of one of his other texts appearing without his name, literally unauthorized, contributes to Turner’s 1568 assertion of his scholarly and experiential authority over the contents of his Herbal.

Chapter 8 John Norton and the Redemption of John Gerard

1 On managing information, see Blair, Too Much to Know.

2 Though his name in both the Herball and his will of 1612 add an ultimate letter “e” to his name, scholarship standardizes ‘Gerard” as spelt without.

3 Each copy of The Herball required 371 edition-sheets of paper; on its woodcuts, see Luborsky and Ingram, Guide to English Illustrated Books, 1:393.

4 For a vivid demonstration of how the blocks that produced Turner’s woodcuts were copied from a printed edition of Fuchs’s De historia, see Brent Elliott, “The World of the Renaissance Herbal,” Renaissance Studies 25 (2011): 2441.

5 On the way that woodblocks could change their “epistemic status,” as well as the mechanisms for their exchange, see Bruce T. Moran, “Preserving the Cutting Edge: Traveling Woodblocks, Material Networks, and Visualizing Plants in Early Modern Europe,” in Matteo Valleriani (ed.), The Structures of Practical Knowledge (Cham: Springer, 2017), 393419. On English stationers renting woodblocks from Antwerp, see Dirk Imhof, “Return My Woodblocks at Once: Dealings between the Antwerp Publisher Balthasar Moretus and the London Bookseller Richard Whitaker in the Seventeenth Century,” in Lotte Hellinga, Alastair Duke, Jacob Harskamp, and Theo Hermans (eds.), The Bookshop of the World: The Role of the Low Countries in the Book-trade, 1473–1941 (Utrecht: Hes & De Graaf Publishers, 2001), 179190. I am grateful for Roger Gaskell’s help in locating these articles.

6 Elliott, “Renaissance Herbal,” 34. For a similar reading of the printer’s role in Mattioli’s herbals, and the way that that author was subject to deliberate “iconification,” see Moran, “Preserving,” 406.

7 Once the book was printed, John Norton went to considerable expense to have its illustrations professionally water-colored as a gift for Bodley. His especial attachment to The Herball suggests that John, rather than Bonham Norton, was the figure most responsible for its publication, with Bonham’s contributions being largely financial. See John Barnard, “Politics, Profit, and Idealism: John Norton, the Stationers’ Company, and Sir Thomas Bodley,” Bodleian Library Record 17 (2002): 385408.

8 See Barnard, “Politics,” 385. Norton’s career and wealth at death testify to his capacity for shrewd business dealings, including a deep knowledge of continental trends. He was a member of the livery of the Stationers’ Company in 1598 and later twice became its Warden. See Ian Gadd, “Norton, John (1556/7–1612), bookseller,” ODNB.

9 For a detailed “thick description” of the community of Lime Street naturalists, see Harkness, The Jewel House, esp. chap. 1.

10 In 1605, Bill, along with Bonham and John Norton, founded the conglomerate Officina Nortoniana, which served as an imprint. See B. J. McMullin, “The Bible Trade,” in John Barnard, D. F. McKenzie, and Maureen Bell (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain, vol. 4 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 455473; and Gadd, “Norton.”

11 Arber, Transcript, 3:85.

12 Elliott, “Renaissance Herbal,” 35.

13 Arber, Transcript, 4:307.

14 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶ ¶2v.

15 Knight, Of Books and Botany, 133.

16 Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶5v.

17 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶6v.

18 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1v.

19 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1v.

20 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1v.

21 Peter Shaw, “Plagiary,” The American Scholar 51 (1982), 325337; 327; Christopher Ricks, “Plagiarism,” in Paulina Kewes (ed.), Plagiarism in Early Modern England (New York: Palgrave, 2003), 2140; 22.

22 On the contingencies of plagiarism in commonplace books, see Harold Love, “Originality and the Puritan Sermon” in Kewes, Plagiarism, 149–165.

23 Olgilvie, Science of Describing, 74–82; see also Moran, “Preserving.”

24 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1v. Henrey, British Botanical, 1:9.

25 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1r.

26 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1v.

27 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1r.

28 Jeffers, Friends, 49; see also Henrey, British Botanical, 1:47.

29 Jeffers, Friends, 48. L’Obel’s Plantarum seu stirpium icones (USTC 401886), referenced by Johnson, was published in Antwerp by Christopher Plantin in 1581 but contained unsold sheets of the 1570–1571 edition of Stirpium aduerseria noua.

30 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶1v.

31 See A. Louis, Mathieu de L’Obel 1538–1616 (Ghent-Louvain: Story-Scientia, 1980), 274. Translation mine.

32 Louis, Mathieu de L’Obel, 131n22. For an English account, see Ogilvie, Science of Describing, 45.

33 See Arber, Transcript, 2:43, and W. W. Greg, A Companion to Arber (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967), 43.

34 See note to STC 19595.

35 The original edition was reissued in 1605 and 1618, indicating that the edition continued not to sell on its own. See Albert E. Lownes, “Persistent Remaindering (Pena and de l’Obel’s Adversaria, 1570–1618),” Publications of the Bibliographical Society of America 52 (1958): 295–299.

36 Louis suggests that L’Obel was also indignant that in several cases of classification, Gerard had sided with Dodoens over him (Mathieu de L’Obel, 274).

37 See Raven, English Naturalists, 204–217; Arber, Herbals, 129–130, Ogilvie, Science of Describing, 37; Pavord, Naming of Names, 334; and most recently, Vin Nardizzi, “Daphne Described: Ovidian Poetry and Speculative Natural History in Gerard’s Herball,” Philological Quarterly 98 (2019): 137156. For a particularly vivid, but fictionalized, account of what L’Obel described occurring in Norton’s retail bookshop, see Harkness, The Jewel House, 15–19.

38 Johnson’s phrasing suggests that the “Mr. Norton” who commissioned Priest around 1583 was the same figure who published the finished Herball in 1597; however, as John Norton was an apprentice until 1586, and was often resident in Edinburgh until 1594, it is possible that, if true, it is actually another “Mr. Norton,” John Norton’s uncle and master, William Norton, that had initially made the arrangement with Priest.

39 Kusukawa, Picturing the Book of Nature, 49–61.

40 Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. B3v.

41 Jeffers, Friends, 79.

42 Jeffers, Friends, 48.

43 Gerard, Herball (1597), sig. ¶¶2r.

44 Turner, Thirde Parte, sig. *2v.

45 Gerard, Herball (1597), sig. ¶¶2r.

46 Joyce Norton and Richard Whitaker would mimic this detail in their title pages of 1633 and 1636 and add to it by also advertising Thomas Johnson’s status as a “Citizen and Apothecarye of London.”

47 “Of these most helpfull herbes yet tell we but a few, / To those vnnumbred sorts of Simples here that grew. / Which iustly to set downe, euen Dodon short doth fall; / Nor skilfull Gerard, yet, shall euer find them all” (xiii). A printed marginal besides this passage reads “The Authors of two famous Herbals.” See Michael Drayton, Poly-olbion (London: Printed by Humphrey Lownes for Matthew Lownes, 1612), sig. V1v, p. 218.

48 See Laroche, Medical Authority, “Appendix B: Female Owners of Herbal Texts.”

49 See also Henrey, British Botanical, 1:53. As the above-named readers imply, the large folio text of Gerard’s Herball was likely out of the price range for all but the wealthiest of London’s book consumers; one scholar notes a bound copy of the 1633 edition of the text retailing at 48 shillings. Even allowing for inflation between 1633 and its original date of publication, the 1597 retail cost of the Herball would still have been prohibitive to most purchasers. See Francis R. Johnson, “Notes on English Retail Book-prices, 1550–1640,” The Library 5th Series 5 (1950–1951): 83112.

50 The deposit copy of the Herball in the Bodleian, for example, displays “wear … entirely due to its intensive use by early readers. The serious damage is restricted to the book’s index section” (Barnard, “Politics,” 387–389). See also Ann Blair, “Annotating and Indexing Natural Philosophy,” in Marina Frasca-Spada and Nick Jardine (eds.), Books and the Sciences in History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 6989. On continuous and discontinuous reading, see Stallybrass, “Books and Scrolls.”

51 Jeffers, Friends, 94.

52 See Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor’s notes on Ophelia distributing flowers to the court at 4.5.169–178 in their edition of Hamlet, Arden Third Series (London: Bloomsbury, 2006); and R. A. Foakes’s notes on King Lear, 4.4.6 (Cordelia describes Lear’s crown of weeds). See also Footnote Chapter 3, Note 31.

53 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶3v.

54 On the distinction, see Henrey, British Botanical.

55 Parkinson, Paradisi, sig. **4r.

56 John Bill had died in 1630 and in his will designated a number of titles to Joyce Norton and Whitaker. The pair were assigned the rights to “Gerrards herbal with Pictures and without” on August 26, 1632. See Arber, Transcripts, 4:283.

57 Parkinson, Paradisi, sig. **4r.

58 Whitaker and Moretus’s correspondence is found in Imhof, “Return My Woodblocks.”

59 Johnson, “To the Reader,” in Gerard, Herball (1633), sig. ¶¶¶3v.

60 This third edition was clearly a plan early on: Norton and Whitaker assigned “one full third part of the Copy called Gerrards Herball” to Islip on July 13, 1634 (Arber, Transcript, 4:323).

61 Jackson, Records, 255. The trio seems to have started a trend: two years later, on July 14, 1635, another royal letter would arrive to be read to the Stationers’ Company wardens “concerning one Mr Parkinson an Apothecary about printing his works” (Jackson, Records, 265). Though Parkinson’s Theatrum botanicum was eventually published “by the Kings Majestyes especiall privilege” in 1640, its delay in being printed seems to have caused its author no small distress: “The disastrous times, but much more wretched and perverse men have so farre prevailed against my intended purpose, and promise, in exhibiting this work to the public view of all; that their extreame covetousnesse had well nigh deprived my country of the fruition” (Parkinson, Theatrum botanicum, sig. A3v). See also Arber, Bibliography, 1:80.

62 See Eisenstein, Printing Press, 266–267.

63 See Eisenstein, Printing Revolution, 209–231.

64 Gerard’s first catalogue of plants was published in Latin in 1596 (STC 11748); John Norton published a second edition that added the English names in 1599 (STC 11749).

65 Gerard, Herball (1597), sig. B2v.

66 Parsons, A Not-So-New World, 57. See also Nicosia, “Milton’s Banana.”

67 Gerard, Herball (1597), sig. A3r.

68 Gerard, Herball (1597), sig. B6r.

Figure 0

Figure 7.1 Portrait of William Cunningham from The Cosmographical Glasse (1559), sig. A3v.

The Huntington Library, San Marino, California (RB 60873).
Figure 1

Figure 8.1 John Gerard, The Herball or General Historie of Plants (1597).

Image reproduced courtesy of the Ohio State University Libraries’ Rare Books & Manuscripts Library (Shelfmark QK 41 G3).
Figure 2

Figure 8.2 John Gerard, The Herball or General Historie of Plants (1633).

Image reproduced courtesy of the Ohio State University Libraries’ Rare Books & Manuscripts Library (Shelfmark QK 41 G35).
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