Shakespeare Connected - Storms and Watercolours: Visualising Shakespeare's Nature
Theatrum Botanicum, John Parkinson, 1640.
This dense book is filled with beautiful diagrams and detailed descriptions of an enormous variety of plants. John Parkinson was an apothecary who worked for James I, and is sometimes referred to as the last of the noted English herbalists. Scientific developments in the field of botany helped lead to the disappearance of these herbals, which tended to elevate the supposedly medicinal properties of the plants that they detailed. Plants with healing or even magical properties are a key element of many Shakespearian works, for example A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which chaos is caused by the mischievous Puck’s use of the flower ‘love-in-idleness’.
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