The collection consists of drawings from Roxburgh's collection of East Indian plants. These were sent by Nathaniel Wallis (or Wallich) to Robert Wight for the Icones plantarum Indiae orientalis 1840-1853.
Drawings of a Collection of East Indian Plants
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
William Roxburgh was born at Underwood, Craigie, in Ayrshire, on 3 June 1751. He was educated at the village school and then studied botany at Edinburgh University. In 1766 he became a surgeon's mate on a vessel of the East India Company and made several voyages to India before being appointed as an Assistant Surgeon in Chennai (then known as Madras), working in the General Hospital in the city. He became a full Surgeon in 1780 and was stationed in Samulcotta in 1781. There he began cultivating plants and making a large botanical collection which he sketched and made notes on their local use. Roxburgh became the East India Company's botanist in Karnataka. In 1791 he began sending plants back to Britain and by 1794 nearly five hundred had been sent. Many of these were selected by Sir Joseph Banks for the richly illustrated volume Plants of the Coast of the Coromandel 1795. In 1793, Roxburgh became Superintendent of the Calcutta Botanic Garden. In 1813 his health failed him and he retired to Capetown, South Africa, and then to St. Helena, and finally to England. William Roxburgh died in Edinburgh on 18 February 1815.
Conditions Governing Access
Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.
The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol.18. Robinson-Sheares. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1909.
Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.
Other Finding Aids
Important finding aids generally are: the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives, consisting of typed slips in sheaf binders and to which additions were made until 1987; and the Index to Accessions Since 1987.
Check the local Indexes for details of any additions.