Elizabeth Blackwell's Curious Herbal

Elizabeth Blackwell (1699-1758) was a Scottish botanical illustrator, best known for her A Curious Herbal, published between 1737 and 1739. The book, which comprises 500 colour plates across two volumes, was originally published in weekly parts, each part containing four plates and accompanying text. Blackwell compiled her Curious Herbal at the instigation of Sir Hans Sloane, as a means of raising money to redeem her husband, Alexander Blackwell (1709-1747), from imprisonment for debt. On the advice of Isaac Rand she rented a house opposite the Chelsea Physic Garden, and used that as her source of plants.