- The Tulip
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc., London, 1999.
First edition: royal octavo; hardcover, with illustrated endpapers; 440pp., with a decorated title page and many colour and monochrome illustrations. Minor wear; mild toning and faint spotting to text block and page edges. Otherwise near fine and now professionally protected by superior non-adhesive polypropylene film. The Tulip is not a gardening book. It is the story of a flower that has made men mad. Greed, desire, anguish, devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip from a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the world-wide phenomenon it is today. The US alone imports three thousand million tulip bulbs each year, Germany and France even more. Why did the tulip dominate so many lives through so many centuries in so many countries? The author, a self-confessed tulipomaniac, has spent six years looking for answers. No other flower has ever carried so much baggage; it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behaviour, mirrors economic booms and busts, plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution. Roaming through Asia, India, Russia and the Ottoman Empire, the author tells how the tulip arrived from Turkey and took the whole of Western Europe by storm. In the petals of the exquisite English florists' tulips, still exhibited in competition by members of the Wakefield Tulip Society in Yorkshire, runs the blood of flowers first grown by John Evelyn in the middle of the seventeenth century. Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, the book also features descriptions of eighty wild-species tulips and several hundred garden varieties.
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