Apparently the First English Book Devoted Entirely to Tea

An Essay upon the Nature and Qualities of Tea. Wherein are shown, I. The Soil and Climate where it grows. II. The various Kinds of it. III. The Rules for Chusing what is best. IV. The Means of Preserving it. V. The several Virtues for which it is fam’d.

Folding engraved frontis. (short tear to image carefully repaired without loss). 3 p.l., 39 pp. Small 8vo, cont. half-calf & marbled boards, flat spine gilt. London: R. Roberts, 1699.

First edition of what is apparently the first English book solely devoted to tea. Ovington (1653-1731), chaplain to James II, upon the kings’ removal, was engaged by the East India Company and sailed for India, where he lived in Surat for two and a half years. While there, he became interested in the tea culture of the subcontinent.

“During the second half of the seventeenth century three drinks, coffee, chocolate, and tea, gradually became fashionable in England, and books were written on the history and nature of these beverages.…In 1699 there appeared [the present work]. The author, John Ovington…in his dedication, addressed to the Countess of Grantham, delivered an elaborate eulogy on the virtues of tea.”–Henrey, I, p. 210 & no. 277.

Ovington states that tea drinking is good for digestion; prevents kidney stone formation, gout, and vertigo; and may even retard scurvy.

Very good copy and scarce.

Price: $4,500.00

Item ID: 6513

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