Remembering James Petiver (1665–1718)

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
Organiser:; Dr Richard Coulton (
+44 (0)20 7434 4479 EXT 211

DAY MEETING 09:30–18:00 Thursday 26 April 2018


This day meeting marks the tercentenary of the death of James Petiver FRS, an important but often overlooked professional apothecary and compulsive natural historian in 18th-century London. Petiver made significant contributions to multiple fields of natural history, above all botany and entomology. An assiduous correspondent and collector, he successfully cultivated sources of natural historical intelligence and material from the Americas to the East Indies.

Speakers will assess Petiver’s life and legacy by deploying a range of historical and scientific disciplinary perspectives. On the 300th anniversary of his death, the meeting will set out to remember James Petiver:

• as a practising natural historian of substantial abilities and merit
• as a collector and cataloguer of natural historical specimens with enduring significance
• as a writer of both manuscript correspondence and published natural historical texts
• as an apothecary whose professional and private scientific interests mutually informed each other
• as a social networker both within London and across the globe
• as an historical figure whose legacy has been contested and which is ripe for reconsideration

Speakers: Dr Arnold Hunt, Dr Charles E Jarvis FLS, Sebestian Kroupa, Dr Alice Marples, Katrina Maydom, Professor Kathleen S Murphy, Dr Victoria Pickering, Professor Richard Vane-Wright FLS. Respondent: Dr Emma Spary.

Organiser: Dr Richard Coulton

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