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POMET, Pierre.

(1658 – 1699)

(Born: Paris, France, 2 April 1658; Died: Paris, France, 18 January 1699) French botanist & apothecary.

Pomet, apothecary to the French court, was a renowned and much travelled chemist and botanist. He opened a `drug-house' in Paris and taught botany at the Jardin des Plantes. He was distinguished by his knowledge of all manner of materia medica.

Biographical references: ABF: I 846, 119-120. Nouvelle Biographie Générale (Hoefer). WBI.

Histoire Générale, 1694

1. French, 1694 [First edition].
[In red:] Histoire | [in black:] Generale | Des | [in red:] Drogues, | [in black:] Traitant | Des Plantes, Des Animaux, | & Des Mineraux; Ouvrage enrichy de plus de | quatre cent Figures en Taille-douce tirées d'aprés | Nature; avec un discours qui explique leurs | differens Noms, les Pays d'où elles viennent, la | maniere de connoître les Veritables d'avec les | Falsifiées, & leurs proprietez, où l'on découvre | l'erreur des Anciens & des Modernes; Le tout tres | utile au Public. | Par le Sieur [in red:] Pierre Pomet [in black:] Marchand Epicier & Droguiste. | [ornament] | [in red:] A Paris, | [in black:] Chez Jean-Baptiste Loyson, & Augustin Pillon, sur le Pont au Change, | à la Prudence. | [in red:] Et Au Palais, | [in black:] Chez Estienne Ducastin, dans la Gallerie des Prisonniers, au bon Pasteur. | [short rule] | Avec Approbations & Privilege du Roy. | [in red:] M. DC. XCIV.

3 parts in one volume. [Part 1] 4°: π2 ã4 A-Pp4 (\ a1 missigned \ a2); 132l.; [12], [1]-16, [1]-232, 233j-264xxxij, 233-304 (i.e., 336) p., frontispiece (engraved portrait of Pomet, signed "A. le Clerc le Ieune fecit.") and an engraved plate "Manier de purifier l'Argent vif" inserted between [\ a4] and A1. [Part 2] 4°: A-Ee4; 54l.; [1]-108 p. [Part 3] 4°: Ff-Oo4 Pp1; 77l.; [1]-116, [38] p. Over 400 fine engravings in the text.

Contents: [Part 1] [2 pgs], Title page, verso blank.; [10 pgs], General preliminary matter.; [1]-16, "Remarques Trescurieuses sur plusieurs vegetaux, animaux, mineraux et autres que j'ai oublié d'inserer dans la premiere impression ou que j'ai découvert du depuis."; [1]-232, 233j-264xxxij, 233-304, Text, part one.

[Part 2] [1]-108, Text, part two.

[Part 3] [1]-116, Text, part three.; [30 pgs], Index.; [6 pgs], Appendix.; [2 pgs], Privilige and Pomet's advertisements.

Scarce. This work, among the first to act as a handbook to apothecary, contains chapters, each with its own vingette, on sugar manufacturing, whale hunting, extraction of whale oil, tobacco, unicorns, mummies, coffee, tea, ostrich, etc. The third part of 116 pages deals with the mineral substances used in pharmacy with notes about their extraction and preparation. Considered the better edition due to the presence of the engraved portrait.

This was the only edition published during the life of Pierre Pomet and it was the most important illustrated book on medical plants and animals during the 17th century. Garisson and Morton quote it as: "The most complete Materia Medica of his time". It was devided in 3 parts, the first dealing with plants, the second with animals and the third with fossils, metals, minerals and the index with appendix. There are 160 plants depicted amongst which tabacco and tea and several of the "Caffe" plant and 28 animals ofwhich one the famous double "portrait" of a Whale, called here "Cachalot et Baleine Femelle" and 5 figures of the "Unicorne or Licorne" and a famous one of "des Perles". The minerals are not illustrated.

Bibliographical references: BL. Garrison & Morton: no. 1827.1. Hunt Botanical Catalog: no. 391. Nissen (BBI) [no copy listed]. Plesch, Stifung für Botanik Auction, 1975-6: no. 367. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturæ Botanicæ, 1871-3: no. 7258. Roller & Goodman, Catalogue, 1976: 2, 317.

2. French, 1735 [2nd edition].
Histoire generale des drogues, traitant des plantes, des animaux, et des mineraux; ouvrage enrichy de plus de quatre cents figures en taille-douce tirees d'apres nature; avec un discours qui explique leurs differens noms, les pays d'ou elles viennent, la maniere de connoitre les veritables d'avec les falsifiees, et leur proprietez, ou l'on decourre l'erreur des anciens et des modernes; le tout tres utile au public. Paris, 1735.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 4°: xviii, 306, [14] p.; [Vol 2] 4°: 406, [14] p. Very scarce.

Facsimile reprint, 1974: Histoire Generale Des Drogues, Simples Et Composees. Lausanne, Imprimeries Réunies, 1974. 2 vols. xviii, 303, [14] p.; 406, [15] p.. Frontispiece and many illustrations of plants, animals etc. Beautiful facsimile edition of the second enlarged edition of the most complete work on the materia medica of its time Pomet was a Paris apothecary who collected drugs from around the world. His publication on it contains numerous fine illustrations of animals, exotic plants, minerals, shells, fishing, apiculture, the manufacture of tobacco, sugar-cane, silk, cotton, indigo and rubber, etc.

Bibliographical references: Hunt Botanical Catalog: no. 496. Nissen (BBI): 1555n. Pritzel, Thesaurus Literaturæ Botanicæ, 1871-3: no. 7258.

English editions

3. English, 1712 [English transl., 1st edition].
A compleat history of druggs written in French by Monsieur Pomet ... ; to which is added what is further observable on the same subject from Messrs. Lemery and Tournefort ... ; done into English from the originals. London, Printed for R. Bonwicke, William Freeman, Timothy Goodwin, John Walt hoe, Matthew Wotton, S. Manship, John Nicholson, Benjamin Tooke, Rich. Parker, and Ralph Smith, 1712.

2 vols. [Vol 1] 4°: [16], 224 p., plates 1-68. Title page in red and black. [Vol 2] 4°: [20], 225-419, [13] p., plates 69-86. Title pagesin red and black.

Very scarce. Remainder of t.p. transcription: Divided into three classes, vegetable, animal and mineral; with their use in physick, chymistry, pharmacy and several other arts: illustrated with four hundred copper cutts curiously done from the life; and an explanation of their different names, places of growth, and countries from whence they are brought; the way to know the true from the false, theit virtues &c. A work of very great use and curiosity. First ed. of the first English translation.-Cf. Johnston, S.H. Cleveland coll., 328. Bound in 1 vol.; paged continuously. Vol. 2 has separate t.p. Illustrations apparently copied from the French ed. but reproduced 4 to a leaf. Title pages in red and black. Publishers' advertisements on b4 verso and 2F². Includes index. Hunt botanical cat., 428. Johnston, S.H. Cleveland coll., 328.Drugs - Early works to 1800. Materia medica - Early works to 1800. Other author Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de, 1656-1708. Lémery, Nicolas, 1645-1715.

Facsimile reprint, 1970: A compleat history of druggs... London, Brummell Press, 1970. [20], 419, [13] p., 86 leaves of plates. [Limited to 500 copies.]

Bibliographical references: Cleveland Herbal & Botanical Collections, 1992: no. 328. Hunt Botanical Catalog: no. 428. STC: no. ??.

4. English, 1725 [English transl., 2nd edition].
A Compleat History of Druggs. To which is added, what is further observable on the same subject, from Mess. Lemery and Torefort. Divided into Three Classes, Vegetable, Animal and Mineral; With their Use in Physick, Chymistry, Pharmacy, and several other Arts. Done into English ... The Second Edition. London, Printed for R. and J. Bonwicke, and R. Wilkin ..., 1725.

4°: A4 a-b4 B-Ff4, ²B2 C4 Dd2; 226l.; [24], 419, [9] p., 86 engraved plates (showing plants, herbs, animals, fish, snakes, minerals, etc.). Title page in red and black. Engraved plates of plants and animals.

Scarce. The first important materia medica in the English language. This work was at the time of its publication, the most comprehensive on the subject, and it enjoyed great success in the original as well as translated languages. Although primarily botanical, the text includes significant information on the use of minerals in pharmacological preparations.

5. English, 1737.
A compleat history of druggs ... London, Printed for J. J. Bonwicke, R. Wilkin, S. Birt, T. Ward and E. Wicksteed, 1737.

4°: A4 a-b4 B-Ff4, 2B-Cc4 Dd2; 226l.; [24], 419, [9] p., 86 leaves of plates. Title in red and black ink. Engraved plates of plants and animals. Text in 2 columns.

Very scarce. Translation of Histoire générale des drogues. Not a reissue of the 1725 2n d edition. Signatures: A4 a-b4 B-2F4, ²B-2C4 2D². Title in red and black ink. Engraved plates of plants and animals. Text in 2 columns. A catalogue of the seeds of several scar

6. English, 1748.
[In black:] A Complete | [in red:] History | [in black:] Of | Drugs. | Written in French | [in red:] By Moniseur Pomet | [in black:] Chief Druggist to the late French King Lewis XIV. | To which is added what is further observable on the same Subject, from | [in red:] Mess. Lemery and Tournefort, | [in black:] Divided into Three Classes, | Vegetable, Animal and Mineral; | With their Use in | [in red:] Physic, Chemistry, Pharmacy, | [in black:] And several other Arts. | Illustrated with above Four Hundred Copper-Cuts, curiously done from the | Life; and an Explanation of their differn Names, Places of Growth, and Countites where they are produced; with the Methods of distinguishing | the Genuine and Perfect, from the Adulteried, Sophisticated, and Decayed; | together with their Virtues, &c. | [in red:] A Work of very great Use and Curiosity. | [in black, rule] | Done into English from the Originals. | [rule] | The Fourth Edition, carefully corrected, with large Additions. | [rule] | [in red:] London, | [in black:] Printed for J. and J. Berwichs, S Birt, W. Parker, C. Hitch, and E. Whitehead. | [in red:] M DCC XLVIII.

4°: A4 a4 b2 B-Ee4 Ff2, 2B-Dd4 Ee2; 226l.; xx, 220, 202, [10] p., 86 leaves of plates. Title in red and black. Plates engraved throughout.

Very scarce. Based upon the author's Histoire générale des drogues. 'Pomet's general history of drugs': 202 p. at end.

German editions

7. German, 1727.
Neu-eröffnetes Materialien- und Naturalien-Magazin, darinnen nicht allein die Materialien, Specereyen und Handels-Wahren, sondern auch die zur Artzney dienliche Vegetabilia, Edelgesteine, Mineralia, Meer-Gewächse, Thiere, &c. ... Wobey alle Kräuter, Bäume, Gewächse, Wurtzeln, Thiere, Stein &c. in Kupffer vorgestellet werden ... Leipzig: Moritz Goerg Weidmanns, 1727.

4°: [4], 452 (double columns), [32] p. Includes 67 finely engraved plates with over 400 illustrations. Approbation and registerl.

Very rare. German translation of Pierre Pomet's legendary Histoire Générale des Drogues. The first part illustrates many exotic plants, herbs, and fruits such as tea, coffee, cocoa, tobacco; drugs mentioned include opium, nux vomica, hemlock, strychnine, etc. The second section deals with zoology and marine biology; the third and fourth parts treat minerals and mining. Among the interesting engravings are illustrations of a sugar cane mill, tobacco processing, and preparation of mummies in Egypt.Fromm, Hans: Bibliogr aphie deutscher Übersetzungen aus dem Französischen, 5, 159 // 'Vom Tabac': co lumns 195-202. Plate 32 depicts the tobacco plant and the production of tobacc o rolls. Translation of Histoire générale des drogues.