10th April 2014: Celebrating and protecting plants
The library at the Linn is already one of the most spectacular and beautiful rooms in London and now it is also displaying some of the wonderful art housed here at the Linnean Society as well.
Over to Elaine in the library to tell us more...
Celebrating and protecting plants
Beautiful, rare and exotic wild plants have always fascinated botanists, artists, horticulturalists and collectors. Owning them can be a status symbol, or proof of your skill as a horticulturalist. These plants also bring a touch of the wild and exotic into homes often very far removed from untouched nature.
Naturalists have discovered, named and studied these plants, artists have celebrated them, enthusiasts have bought them – and agreements like CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) protect them, to ensure their survival in the wild.
Our display celebrates these plants and the initiatives to protect them. All plants displayed are listed in the Appendices of the Convention, and are therefore afforded different levels of protection.
The plates are often among the earliest depictions of these exotic plants, and the skilful presentation of the artists helped to spread knowledge of and, often, a craze for these wild beauties. The eight items on display give a taster of both the wow-factor and the science involved in botanical illustration, from the 16th century to the 19th century.
A particular highlight is the mysterious pitcher-plant, and our display shows what is considered the earliest published illustration of this plant (1570-71), as well as the famous Mark Catesby’s slightly mixed-up depiction, and finally a scholarly description by our founder, James Edward Smith, published in 1804-5.
If you would like to view this small taster exhibition, please contact us to check that the Library is accessible when you are planning to visit.