Kent, Elizabeth | Flora Domestica, or The Portable Flower-Garden

  • The uncommon first edition of this “engaging book about container-gardening” that was “addressed to town-dwelling 'lovers of nature'” (ODNB).

    “Although she had only a dame-school education, Elizabeth Kent had clear intellectual interests, and studied languages and botany. The marriage of her older sister Marianne to Leigh Hunt brought her into lifelong contact with the Romantic writers, including Mary Shelley. She was Hunt's confidante and later his principal correspondent during Hunt's stay in Italy, 1822–5; his sonnet 'To Miss K.' (1818) asks 'what sylvan homage would it please your Leafyship to have?'... Elizabeth Kent combined her literary and botanical interests by writing about plants, producing books and essays meant to excite an interest in flowers among those who were otherwise 'deterred by the terms of science which met them at the threshold'.” Flora Domestica “lists flowers, shrubs, and small trees that can be grown in pots and tubs, gives horticultural tips about soil, cultivation, and watering, and includes anecdotes on topics such as the introduction of species into Europe. Kent cites many verses by classical and contemporary poets, including Keats, Shelley, and Charlotte Smith. Her book represented the contemporary Romantic suburban aesthetic, and was widely praised by Byron, Coleridge, and Clare... Elizabeth Kent also integrated botany into her other activities. She wrote a series of introductory articles for young people on Linnaean botanical nomenclature and systematics in the Magazine of Natural History (1828–30), and advertised lessons for young ladies 'in the science of botany' (The Times, 7 Aug 1828). She wrote a section on botany in The Young Ladies' Book (1829), and updated Galpine's Synoptical Compendium of British Botany (1834) and Irving's Botanical Catechism (1835).


    Ogilvie p. 690

  • ...with Directions for the Treatment of Plants in Pots; and Illustrations from the Works of the Poets. London: for Taylor and Hessey, 1823.

    Octavo (214 x 130 mm). Recently rebound to style in brown half calf, title to spine gilt, raised bands, floral tools in blind to spine compartments, marbled sides and edges. Lacking the original front and rear blanks. Light rubbing and some mild scuffs to the binding, a little spotting and offsetting to the contents. A very good copy.