1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gerard, John

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GERARD, JOHN (1545–1612), English herbalist and surgeon, was born towards the end of 1545 at Nantwich in Cheshire. He was educated at Wisterson, or Willaston, 2 m. from Nantwich, and eventually, after spending some time in travelling, took up his abode in London, where he exercised his profession. For more than twenty years he also acted as superintendent of the gardens in London and at Theobalds, in Hertfordshire, of William Cecil, Lord Burghley. In 1596 he published a catalogue of plants cultivated in his own garden in Holborn, London, 1039 in number, inclusive of varieties of the same species. Their English as well as their Latin names are given in a revised edition of the catalogue issued in 1599. In 1597 appeared Gerard’s well-known Herball, described by him in its preface as “the first fruits of these mine own labours,” but more truly an adaptation of the Stirpium historiae pemptades of Rembert Dodoens (1518–1585), published in 1583, or rather of a translation of the whole or part of the same by Dr Priest, with M. Lobel’s arrangement. Of the numerous illustrations of the Herball sixteen appear to be original, the remainder are mostly impressions from the wood blocks employed by Jacob Theodorus Tabernaemontanus in his Icones stirpium, published at Frankfort in 1590. A second edition of the Herball, with considerable improvements and additions, was brought out by Thomas Johnson in 1633, and reprinted in 1636. Gerard was elected a member of the court of assistants of the barber-surgeons in 1595, by which company he was appointed an examiner in 1598, junior warden in 1605, and master in 1608. He died in February 1612, and was buried at St Andrews, Holborn.

See Johnson’s preface to his edition of the Herball; and A Catalogue of Plants cultivated in the Garden of John Gerard in the years 1596–1599, edited with Notes, References to Gerard’s Herball, the Addition of modern Names, and a Life of the Author, by Benjamin Daydon Jackson, F.L.S., privately printed (London, 1876, 4to).