One hand-colored engraved plate. xix, 51 pp. 8vo, attractive antique calf-backed marbled boards (some foxing), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: C. Dilly & J. Phillips, 1787.
“Second edition” (but see below) of this translation of Commerell’s work on the mangel wurzel, an uncommon beet developed in the 18th century as a fodder crop for livestock and, when harvested young, an excellent source of nutrition for humans. Commerell (d. 1799), chaplain to the Princess of Lowenstein in the German Lorraine and a member of the Société d’Agriculture de Paris, was interested in husbandry and wrote a monograph in French on the mangel wurzel.
Lettsom (1744-1815), physician, philanthropist, and champion of improving projects, was much involved in the introduction of the mangel wurzel in Britain. When seeds of this vegetable were distributed to the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, Lettsom received some, sowed them in his garden at Grove Hill, and found them to be an excellent crop capable of providing food for humans and for cattle. He immediately commissioned a translation of Commerell’s book — a copy of which had accompanied the seeds from Germany — and provided a preface. This is the second of three editions to appear in 1787.
Lettsom distributed seeds to farmers and others in Britain as well as in Europe, America, and the West Indies. Today mangel wurzel is widely grown in many countries.
The fine plate depicts the mangel wurzel.
Nice copy. The title-page states this is the “second edition,” but Lettsom’s preface, dated 15 November 1787, is “to the third edition.” Our copy collates like ESTC’s second edition but has the plate that seems to accompany only the third edition.
❧ Fussell, II, pp. 131-32. Henrey, II, p. 297 & no. 555.
Item ID: 6455