Illustrations in the RBGE Library & Archives
With both historical and contemporary works, the RBGE Illustrations Collection provides an illustrated timeline of the development of botanical art from the late 17th century to date.
The Collection also provides an insight into the history of the Garden through illustrations commissioned by several of its Regius Keepers, notably John Hope and John Hutton Balfour, and by artists that are particularly associated with the organisation including Robert Kaye Greville, Eve Bennett and Rodella Purves.
In addition to the collections of original drawings and paintings, the Collection includes teaching diagrams and posters, nature prints and architectural plans of the Garden. There is also a substantial photographic collection including works by Anna Atkins, Joseph Rock, George Forrest and Robert Moyes Adam, and more than 60,000 photographic slides and glass-plate negatives.
The Library and Archives are lucky to have a dedicated group of volunteers who are helping us to create the collection listings and / or finding aids for individual collections that are available from this page. We are very grateful to them for their efforts which are helping us to open up this unique resource to a wider audience.
If you would like to use images from the collection please contact us (using the form below) for further information.
- RBGE Florilegium
In order to ensure that the Illustrations Collection continues to develop and grow, RBGE is currently exploring the idea of establishing a Florilegium Society.
- Contemporary Collection (1900- )
The Contemporary Collection consists of works by artists working primarily in the 20th century to date. It continues to grow and develop through acquisitions, commissioned works and donations and includes works by artists who have studied on one of the Garden's botanical art programmes.
- Historical Collection
The Historical Collection includes original works of art from the 18th and 19th centuries and includes works by artists such as Violet Jacob, Mungo Park and Robert Kaye Greville among many others.
- Indian Collections
The Indian Collections includes collections of works compiled by William Roxburgh, Hugh Cleghorn, Robert Wight and Alexander Gibson (Dapuri).
- John Hope Collection
John Hope (1725-1786) was Regius Keeper of the RBGE 1761-1786, during which period he moved the Garden from Trinity Hospital to a new, larger site on Leith Walk.
The John Hope Collection includes original drawings and plans of the Garden at Leith Walk including two drawings by Jacob More, original botanical drawings by James Robertson, John Lindsay and William Delacour (1700-1767), and prints by Andrew Bell and Thomas Donaldson and a collection of teaching diagrams.
- Nature Prints
Nature printing comprises a variety of techniques to produce a direct image of a specimen on paper.
The Nature Prints collection includes a number of works using this technique ranging in date from the 18th to the 21st century.
- Photographic Collections
The Photographic Collections includes original photographic images by a wide range of artists including Anna Atkins (cyanotypes), collectors (e.g. George Forrest) and RBGE photographers.
The taxonomic sequence within the slide collection consists of more than 20,000 images of named botanical specimens from the RBGE Living Collection and expeditions. The collection also includes historical and contemporary images of the gardens at Edinburgh, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan.
- Teaching Aids
The Illustrations Collection includes a large number of Teaching Aids that were used in lectures by Garden staff such as the former Regius Keepers John Hope and John Hutton Balfour. The collection includes original artworks, published posters and botanical models.
Contact the Library and Archives
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