Biology & Natural History

Evelyn, John | Sylva, or a Discourse of Forest-Trees, and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesties Dominions

  • Third edition of "Evelyn's most important horticultural work" and the first official book publication of the Royal Society.

    In 1652 the diarist and translator John Evelyn (1620-1706) "began to create the garden at Sayes Court, a project that signaled the beginning of his serious interest in botany and garden history" (ODNB). He developed an extensive correspondence with gardeners throughout Britain and devoted much of his intellectual energy to horticulture, particularly that of trees. The outcome was this pioneering work, written in part as a "protest against the destruction of England’s forests being carried out by her glass factories and iron furnaces. The work was influential in establishing a much-needed program of reforestation that had a lasting effect on the British economy" (Norman 745). Sylva also introduced the term "avenue" into English landscape gardening. Published with this edition is the second edition of Terra, A Philosophical Discourse of Earth; the third edition of Pomona, a collection of treatises on fruit trees and cider-making, and the fifth edition of the Kalendarium Hortense, a gardener's calendar that was frequently published separately and proved to be Evelyn's most popular work.

  • As it was deliver'd in the Royal Society the XVth of October...Terra, A Philosophical Essay of Earth... to which is annexed Pomona: or, an Appendix Concerning Fruit-Trees in Relation to Cider... also Kalendarium Hortense; or, the Gard'ners Almanac... All which several Treatises are in this Third Edition much Inlarged, and Improved. Folio (296 x 185 mm). Late 18th-century tan half calf, red morocco label, marbled sides. Main title and Kalendarium title printed in red and black, 8 engravings within the text, 8 pages of typographical tables. Complete with the errata leaf, indexes, dedication, 16-page note to the reader, 2-page advertisement, and 12 pages of poems. Early 19th-century ownership inscription to front free endpaper, occasional contemporary marginalia. Tiny wormhole at head of spine, joints discreetly repaired, minor worming in gutter of early leaves, small spots of dampstain to lower corners of early leaves, three very short closed splits to lower edge of title, professionally repaired tear of about 10cm to first leaf of the index to the Kalendarium Hortense, contents toned with occasional light spots. A well-margined copy in very good condition. Bibliography: Norman 745; Wing E-3518; Garrison-Morton 145.51 (for first edition).