Frontispiece to a book on agriculture, 1687.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Frontispiece from the fourth edition of 'Systema agriculturae: the mystery of husbandry discovered' by John Worlidge (active 1669-1698), published in London in 1697. This influential work was the first comprehensive and systematic treatise on husbandry and went through five editions in the author's lifetime. Worlidge's attempts to asemble all the written and practical knowledge of the time were only partially succesful. He concentrated far more on horticulture and gardening and largely ignored stock breading and rearing. This illustration, with its odd perspective, had an explanation in verse opposite that named the crops and equipment shown. In the centre is a cornucopia of the produce the reader will surely obtain by following the book's advice.