Landscape logo with the word Bookshapers and, below it, Anna Faherty & Judith Watts



Botanica Blackwellia

In which Anna and Judith travel back to the degenerate world of Eighteenth-century London. Expect user-focused content and design, a performance in rhyming verse and a little gin.

When Elizabeth Blackwell’s husband ends up in a debtor’s prison, she thinks writing and illustrating her own book will save the day, but it’s a mammoth task.

Elizabeth was the first British woman to author a herbal (a comprehensive book that readers could use to identify medicinal plants). Here’s volume one of her finished book, A Curious Herbal, published in 1737:

And here’s Volume 2:


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Useful links

See Elizabeth’s letter of introduction to Hans Sloane at the British Library.
‘A Curious Herbal as Material Witness’ at the Linnean Society.
‘Will the Real Elizabeth Blackwell Please Stand Up?’ at NYBG.

An archive line illustration of a country scene surrounded by a garland of flowers
Engraving from the frontispiece of A Curious Herbal