A CONTROVERSIAL CURE FOR TROUBLED TREES

A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit-Trees, in which a new Method of Pruning and Training is fully described, to which is added, a new and improved Edition of “Observations on the Diseases, Defects, and Injuries, in all Kinds of Fruit and Forest Trees,” with an Account of a particular Method of Cure, published by Order of Government.

London, Nichols & Son for T.N. Longman & O. Rees, T. Cadell junior & W. Davies, and J. Debrett, 1802.

4to, pp. viii, 371, [1], with 13 folding copper-engraved plates; upper margin of title partially removed, final leaves lightly dust-stained, slight offsetting from plates, otherwise a very good, clean copy; in contemporary half calf with marbled sides, spine gilt in compartments with gilt green morocco lettering-piece, edges speckled red; superficially worn, neatly rebacked with spinepiece relaid; contemporary ink ownership inscription of David Hall to upper pastedown, covered by later nineteenth-century engraved bookplate of William Hugh Wade-Gery (1832–1917), with his inscription to facing free endpaper (Bushmead, Willesden), twentieth-century ticket of W.J. Jaggard of Liverpool.

£275

Approximately:
US $336€318

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A Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit-Trees, in which a new Method of Pruning and Training is fully described, to which is added, a new and improved Edition of “Observations on the Diseases, Defects, and Injuries, in all Kinds of Fruit and Forest Trees,” with an Account of a particular Method of Cure, published by Order of Government.

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First edition, with Forsyth’s promotion of his controversial remedy for injured trees. As superintendent of the royal gardens of St James’s and Kensington from 1784, Forsyth (1737–1804) developed a ‘plaister’ supposed to remedy diseased timber, an invention met with much enthusiasm by those procuring oak for naval use, who paid him £1500 to reveal the composition of the paste and offered a second reward to follow successful trials. In 1791 he promoted his paste with the publication of Observations on the Diseases, Defects, and Injuries of Fruit and Forest Trees, here revised and expanded and reprinted in a broader work on the Culture and Management of Fruit-Trees.

Despite the favourable letters here printed to support Forsyth’s claims, the paste was attacked by Thomas Knight as ‘neither a new invention nor an effective one’, leading to ‘a long and bitter debate which severely damaged Forsyth’s reputation’ (ODNB).

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