Journal Article

  • Bringing a herbarium to life at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
    Shepherd, J.
    NatSCA News, Issue 17, pages 43 - 51

    Sir John St. Aubyn (1758-1839) was a collector and facilitator to science and the arts. His particular interest was for mineralogy, but he also had interests in botany, which lead him to create a sizeable herbarium containing many interesting plants. Most of these have been collected in the field, but there are also specimens from early plant nurseries and important gardens in Europe. The notes on the herbarium sheets are also exceptionally detailed. Adjacent to many species, the medicinal properties and domestic uses have been described.

    Before his death, Sir John donated a folio containing his herbarium to the Civil Military Library at Devonport, which later moved to Plymouth City Museum in 1924, where it was hidden away. In 2007, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery secured a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, enabling the museum’s natural history department to conduct a variety of work on this historic collection. In the following article, I will recount my journey through time as I removed centuries of dust to reveal a collection of scientific and cultural importance.