Forever Green

Spring is just around the corner and we can look forward to spending more time outdoors and enjoying our gardens.

We’ve chosen some items from our special collections with a garden theme.  All of the items are from our collection of art treasures.


This delightful image is of a design for Attingham Park, Shropshire by Humphrey Repton.  Repton was a landscape gardener in the eighteenth century, widely considered to be the successor to Capability Brown. He produced a series of Red Books to show clients what he envisaged for their park. The books are beautifully illustrated with watercolours and explanatory notes. The pictures have overlays to show ‘before’ and ‘after’ views of the park.

The second item is the title page from the oldest book in our collection which dates from 1633, The Herball: or Generall Historie of Plantes by John Gerard.


The engraving shows a luxuriant Elizabethan garden with urns of flowers and herbs and a bust of the author. Also depicted are the goddesses Ceres and Pomona on either side at the top of the page and the fathers of botany below. The Herball made a valuable contribution to botany and early printed books. It is illustrated with more than 2500 woodcut relief prints of plants from the Old and New World.

Our third item is Decorative Flower Studies (1901) by J Foorde, a collection of 88 drawings of 40 plants.

Jeanie Foord was a Glaswegian Art Nouveau Botanical Artist who had a vast knowledge of plants.

The book was produced as a sourcebook for students, artists and designers.


A collection of forty coloured lithographs in delicate pastel colours.

The drawings are accompanied by detailed text describing the origins of the plants, how they grow and their characteristics.

The final image is from Flora Londinesis by William Curtis which consists of six volumes that describe the flora found in London and the south-eastern regions during the mid 18th century.


Curtis was a botanist who was particularly interested in exotic species. He was also Director, Society of Apothecaries at the Chelsea Physic Garden.

He published the six volumes between 1777 and 1798. They included hand-coloured copperplates by botanical artists such as James Sowerby.

We hope you enjoyed our selection of garden themed items. If you’d like to view them or anything else in our collections, please get in touch to book a visit Records and Archives.

^Posted on behalf of the Records Management Team.