1605 (but 1650) A Discours of Husbandrie Used in Brabant and Flanders, R. Weston


1650 (but with an error date of 1605), first edition, of the important and influential A Discourse of Husbandrie used in Brabant and Flanders by Sir Richard Weston.

This work introduced Britain to the idea of a new system of crop rotation, employing burning, lime, clover, flax and turnips.

Weston also encouraged land owners to use their land wisely, for example, writing, "It is a certain thing, that the chiefest and fundamentallest point in Husbandrie, is, to understand the nature and condition of the Land that one would Till; and to sow it with such Seed as it will produce, either Naturally, or by Art, that which may turn to a Man's greatest profit and advantage."

About the Work -

Sir Richard Weston was an English canal builder and agricultural improver. He instigated the construction of the Wey Navigation, and introduced new plants and a system of crop rotation.

In 1644/45 Weston visited Ghent/Bruges/Antwerp and studied their agricultural methods. On returning he wrote his sons describing his findings. From 1646 until 1650 manuscript copies were circulated, and then in 1650 this first printed edition was published (with an error date of 1605).

Some accounts (The Standard Cyclopedia of Modern Agriculture, Wright) state that Samuel Hartlib edited the book for Weston, others (The Dictionary of National Biography, Smith) accuse Hartlib of piracy by publishing the manuscript without knowing who the author was.

Bibliographic Details -

English Short Title Catalogue number - R204071

Universal Short Title Catalogue number - 3002329. 14 copies recorded in the world's libraries.

Provenance -

The title page signed by Henry Streatfeild, likely the substantial British landowner and member of the Chiddingstone, Kent Streatfeild family.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 18.5 x 13.5 x .5 cm. Leather spine and corners. Spine with five compartments formed by double gilt fillets; title in gilt on red morocco in one compartment.

Pages - (8) 26, missing E2, a blank leaf (or colophon?) at end.

Collation - A-D4, E1

Condition -

See pictures. Binding very nice; just a little sunning to spine. Renewed endpapers; "Samuel Hartlibb" written on pastedown in graphite but it is a modern hand and the endpapers have been renewed.

Title page heavily repaired around edges and at gutter. Title page with darkening, and a (ink?) spot at printer's mark. Year of publication written in ink above printed. Bottom corner of title page chipped. Name and date at top of title page. All pages with some toning. Edge repairs throughout. Someone wrote A-E in graphite on the introductory leaves. Repair on A4 at upper corner lightened text darkness. Several marginal graphite marks denoting important passages. 1 cm tear top-edge of D1. Corner repair at top of page 20 just goes into text. Darkening from bottom corner of last leaf. Occasional rust mark, ink spot, etc. throughout.

Missing E2, a blank leaf (or colophon?) at end.

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