Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Rare chance to see Francis Willughby's herbarium specimens

Chris Preston has been in touch to tell us about an interesting exhibition which opens in Nottingham this week. 
Chris (on left) and Philip (centre) receive their
Thackray Medal from Hugh Torrens, then
President of the Society for the
History of Natural History
Philip holds a copy of
John Ray's Cambridge Catalogue.
Image courtesy of P. Oswald

This is a unique chance to see some of Francis Willughby's herbarium specimens on public display. Willughby was a 17th Century naturalist and the friend, colleague and patron of John Ray, who is often dubbed 'the father of English natural history'. 

The specimens were included after Willughby's death in an interleaved copy of John Ray's Historia plantarum and some of them are also annotated by John Ray. 

This is the first time that Willughby's volumes of herbarium specimens and examples of the plant drawings he collected on the Continent in the 1660s have ever been exhibited in public.

Much of the exhibition draws on the recent book (2016) edited by Tim Birkhead: Virtuoso by nature: the scientific worlds of Francis Willughby FRS (1635-1672)

The exhibition opens on Friday and runs through to December - details here

Many thanks to Chris for alerting us to this exhibition. Chris and Philip Oswald translated and edited John Ray's Cambridge catalogue (1660) for which they were awarded the Thackray medal in 2013. Chris is also a co-author, along with Clive Stace and David Pearman, of the celebrated Hybrid Flora of the British Isles.