Illustrated with 83 Engraved Plates. A Large Paper Copy

Grew, Nehemiah (1641-1712)

The Anatomy of Plants. With an Idea of a Philosophical History of Plants. And several other Lectures, Read before the Royal Society.

London: printed by W. Rawlins, for the Author, 1682


Folio: 36 x 23 cm. [ ]4, a4, B-Z4, Aa-Ii4, Kk2, Ll-Xx4, Yy-Zz2, Aaa-Ccc2. With 83 added engraved plates. Plates 30-31 bound after 41; plates 32-33 bound after 42)


A VERY FINE, LARGE PAPER COPY. Illustrated with eighty-three engraved plates, five of which are double-paged. This copy is bound in contemporary, mottled calf (some abrasions to boards, joints rubbed, small losses at head and foot of spine), spine ornately tooled in gold. Internally, this copy is in fine condition, printed on large paper, thicker than the paper used in the ordinary copies. This copy is unusual in that the double-page engravings have not been pasted to their guards so they may be removed from the book and laid flat (see image.)

“The English botanist, physician, and microscopist, Nehemiah Greww is considered, along with the Italian microscopist Marcello Malpighi, to be among the founders of the science of plant anatomy.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)

“In 1682 Grew’s magnum opus, ‘The Anatomy of Plants,’ was issued. Of the four ‘books’ of this work, the first, second, and third are second editions of ‘The Anatomy begun,’ ‘The Anatomy of Roots,’ and the ‘The Anatomy of Trunks,’ extending to 49, 46, and 44 folio pages respectively, and illustrated by four, thirteen, and twenty-three plates. The fourth book, dedicated to Boyle, includes ‘The Anatomy of Leaves, Flowers, Fruits, and Seeds,’ 72 pages, with forty-two plates. Among the structural points clearly shown in these plates are the coats of the ovule and seed, the pulpy coat to that of the gooseberry, the cotyledons, plumule, and radicle of the embryo, the vascular bundles in leaf-stalks, the resin-ducts of the pine, the latex-vessels of the vine and the sumach, the folding of leaves in buds, superficial hairs and internal crystals, the structure of the minute flowers of the compositae, the stamens, or ‘attire,’ as they were then termed, and their pollen-grains. Although it is commonly attributed, on the ground of a modest remark of Grew’s, to Sir Thomas Millington, it is probable that to Grew himself belongs the credit of first observing the true existence of sex in plants. Haller styles him ‘industrius ubique naturae observator,’ and Linneaus dedicated to him the genus Grewia in Tiliaceae.” (DNB)

“The book is best remembered for the idea, suggested to Grew by the physician Sir Thomas Millington, that the stamen, with its pollen, is the male sex organ and that the pistil corresponds to the sex organ of the female.”( Encyclopedia Britannica)

Wing G-1945; Le Fanu, pp.98-105; Horblit 43B; Hunt 362; Nissen, BBI, 758; Hook/Norman 946; Plesch 243; Pritzel 3557; Henrey 162.