Category Archives: Natural history

The Shoemaker of Banff

Samuel Smiles, biographer and enthusiast for those who demonstrated the ability to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, was very taken with Thomas Edward, of Banff, Scotland. He name-checked him in Self-Help (1859), as follows: Advertisements

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The Unusual Grand Tour of Sir J.E. Smith

Although, in my previous existence, I had been involved in reissuing the hagiographic two-volume ‘life and letters’ of Sir J.E. Smith (1759–1828), founding president of the Linnean Society, written by his delightfully named widow, Pleasance, I did not actually read … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: August 2017

Quasi-familial motives led the Hedgehog ménage to Thessaloniki recently, and a jolly time was had by all, in spite of 40 degrees C, 98% humidity, and the overwhelming nature of Greek hospitality. We had time for a little light sightseeing; … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: July 2017

Regrets, I’ve had a few … but none so profound as for the fatal day on which I gratefully accepted a kind neighbour’s gift of a single plant of Meconopsis cambrica. Up to my oxters (whatever they are) in the … Continue reading

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A Curious Herbal

In Modena recently, we were having a nice mooch round the Biblioteca Estense in the Palazzo dei Musei, which also houses the Galleria Estense, the Lapidario Romano, the Musei Civici di Modena, and several other collections. (A tasting session for … Continue reading

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Hortus Academicus

The botanic garden in Leiden is always associated with its hugely distinguished first director, Carolus Clusius, and sure enough, his bust is the first thing you see at the entrance. I wasn’t aware, however, until our recent visit, that other … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: June 2017

It may be stretching a point to call a small fragment of a painting an ‘object’ – the more so as the small fragment depicts two apparently living animals who may or may not have actually been alive when they … Continue reading

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