`Raffles’ Ark Redrawn

Natural history drawings from the collection of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles

The British Library
and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

2009   |  220 × 245mm   |  180pp


Delonix regia. In 1999 I produced a catalogue of Indian botanical drawings for the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, where a cache of remarkable mid-19th century works by Indian illustrators had been languishing unseen in filing cabinets for a century. One of the visitors to the exhibition was a recently widowed Parsi lady who recognised the flowering tree, Delonix regia, on the front cover of the modest catalogue. It was the tree under which her recently-deceased husband had proposed to her in Bombay in the 1940s; and she was moved to offer to fund the restoration of the drawings and their publication. Soon after they were published as The Dapuri Drawings Mrs Dinshaw herself died and her children offered to repeat the process for another, larger, group of drawings. Those books and the one shown here were researched and written by Henry Noltie of the RBGE, historian of imperial botany in south-east Asia – which had many links with Scotland – and polymath.