MEDIEVAL HERBALS are things that delight me .. old compendiums of collected folk knowledge about plants and how they can help us, filled with spidery words and strange drawings of plants both familiar and outlandish. Medieval ideas about our bodies and how to heal them were quite different to those of the modern medical profession, and the world's garden in those days was seen as an immense medicine cabinet full of mysteries to be written down and remembered ... thus leaving us with many beautiful books full of strange tales and magical imagery.
Some years ago I made a book inspired by these wonderful herbals... a collection of plant lore and superstition from A to Z ... illustrated with 23 woodcuts (no plant for U, X or Z!). I collected information from many books: old plant names, superstitions and stories surrounding each plant and beliefs about what they could do to benefit your health (or not!). And each plant was illustrated with a handmade wood engraving - carved on a very close-grained Japanese Maple wood and printed onto brown parchment-like paper. Below is a photo of the book itself and the woodblocks.
And here for those with patience and keen eyesight are the pages for Dandelion and Bramble ~ two so-called "weeds" with some humourous connections to weeing.
For more images like those shown, I recommend Medieval Herbals ~ The Illustrative Traditions by Minta Collins and the now out of print The Illustrated Herbal by Wilfred Blunt & Sandra Raphael.
Apologies for the post of epic proportions!