24 June 2009
POMET, Pierre (1658-1699). A Compleat History of Druggs Divided into Three Classes, Vegetable, Animal and Mineral; With their Use in Physick, Chymistry, Pharmact, and Several Other Arts. London: Printed for R. Bonwicke, et. al, 1712.
2 volumes in one, 4o (224 x 180 mm). Title-pages printed in red and black. 86 engraved plates (some minor staining, a few plates cropped slightly affecting plate number). (B2 and D4 in vol. 1 with repaired tears.) Contemporary speckled calf (rebacked, repaired at corners). Provenance: Some occasional underlining of passages in red pencil; T. C. Wright, M.D. (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION in English of Historiae générale des drogues, originally published in1694. Divided into three parts, Pomet discusses the pharmaceutical uses of various elements derived from the vegetable, animal, and mineral worlds. One of the first of its kind, the work covers the curious and emphasizes the exotic aspects of the drugs mentioned. For example he notes that opium "is in such use among the Turks and when they go to fight they take it to excess that it may animate them, or at least make them insensible to danger" (p.216). Pomet's descriptions oftentimes border on the fantastical, as in the case of the unicorn and the curative properties of its horn, as well as the elephant, in which he writes they are the prey of dragons. (Garrison-Morton 1827.1). Johnson Cleveland Collections 328; Hunt 428; Pritzel 7258.
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