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Phytologia; or the Philosophy of Agriculture and Gardening. With the Theory of Draining Morasses, and with and Improved Construction of the Drill Plough

by Darwin, Erasmus

  • Hardback £395.00
  • Used Book Availability : In stock
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  • Catalogue No : 38753
  • Published : 1800
  • Cover : Hardback
  • Pages : viii, 612, [12, Index], un-numberd letterpress caption leaf

Description:

First edition. Part I: Physiology of Vegetation; Part II: Economy of Vegegation; Part III: Agriculture and Horticulture. Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), physician and natural philosopher, and grandfather of Charles Darwin. Botany became an absorbing practical and theoretical interest for Darwin in the late 1770s. He constructed his own botanic garden outside Lichfield and undertook the translation of writings of the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). 'Phytologia' is a major treatise intended to systematize agricultural knowledge, informed by his conviction that plants were inferior animals, providing a theoretical framework that could sustain better agricultural and horticultural practices. Darwin provided a confident overview of the prospects for improving agricultural production and an imaginative range of innovations, including methods for forwarding the production of seeds and their ripening, for perfecting and enlarging fruit, and for growing timber with appropriate flexibility for use in the shipbuilding industry. A strong interest in the chemical aspects of agriculture was obvious throughout the volume: he recognized the use of ammonia in vegetation, understood the importance of nitrate and phosphate in plant growth, and considered the possibility of a chemical insecticide (a lime-sulphur mixture). - ODNB. Phytologia is dedicated to John Sinclair, president of the board of agriculture in the 1790s.

Nissen BBI 452; Henrey 615.

Condition

4to, recent half calf, raised bands to spine, red leather title-piece. Title-page torn, slightly trimmed, and laid onto Japanese tissue. Plates and their corresponding caption leaves foxed and water stained, mostly to outer margin but in the last few plates the water stain extends to the printed image.

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