Long before modern medicine and the corner drugstore, herbalists dispensed celery to treat lunacy and considered aloe a veritable wonder drug able to purify phlegm, prevent hair loss, remedy moral decay and corruption, and even rid one of stomach worms or tiny pests that crawl into the ears. Since antiquity, herbs and medicinal plants (known as simples) have been studied, documented, and used to treat a host of human complaints—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Medieval medical tomes such as the twelfth-century Book of Simple Medicines, by Italian physician Matthaeus Platearius (?–1161) are appreciated today as snapshots of history.
A richly decorated French version of Platearius’s book, with annotations reflecting more up-to-date medical knowledge, was created for a French royal couple in the late fifteenth century. Le Livre des simples médecines (The Book of Simple Medicines) also boasts illustrations helpful not only for species identification but also for spiritual contemplation, as alluded to in our cover image of a gallica rose and Solomon’s seal: the Virgin Mary is often called the “rose without thorns,” and the Latin name for Solomon’s seal, inscribed on this image, is Sigillum Sanctæ Mariæ (seal of the Blessed Virgin).
The illustrations reproduced on this coloring book’s inside covers are the work of artist Robinet Testard (fl. 1470–1523). They were selected from Le Livre des simples médecines (c. 1470), created for Louise of Savoy and her husband, Charles d’Angoulême. This vellum manuscript is in the collection of the National Library, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Elegant Herbs & Medicinal Plants Coloring Book
Soft cover book with staple binding.
48 pages with 22 images to color
Size: 8½ x 11 in.
Coloring pages are blank on the back so they can be cut out and displayed.
Published with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh