An exceptionally fine engraving with original hand-coloring from the first edition of A CURIOUS HERBAL - drawn, engraved and painted by Elizabeth Blackwell. Published in London, c. 1739.
This is Plate 177, Garden Succory (Cichorium sativum or Seris). Common succory (chicory) is also known as blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed,cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor's buttons, and wild endive.
It is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family, usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and now common in North America, China, and Australia, where it has become widely naturalized.
These 18th century herbals are from one of the first English botanical series to be issued with hand-colored plates. Published by Elizabeth Blackwell to free her physician husband from debtor’s prison. Due to the great success and popularity of this enterprise, her husband was indeed released (however he was later beheaded for his part in a political plot to alter the Swedish royal succession).
Plate size is approximately 12 x 8 inches.