Ref NoMS/119
TitleDrawings of birth place and death place of Robert Brown - (Mrs Btt.) Lucas ?
AdminHistoryRobert Brown FRSE FRS FLS MWS (1773 – 1858) was a Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist who made important contributions to botany largely through his pioneering use of the microscope.

Brown was born on 21 December 1773 to James Brown, a minister in the Scottish Episcopal Church with Jacobite convictions, and Helen née Taylor, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister. Brown attended the local Grammar School (now called Montrose Academy), then Marischal College at Aberdeen, but withdrew in his fourth year when the family moved to Edinburgh in 1790. His father died late the following year. He studied medicine at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh and spent five years in the British army serving in Ireland as an ensign and assistant surgeon (1795–1800). A visit to London in 1798 brought Brown to the notice of Sir Joseph Banks, president of the Royal Society. Banks recommended Brown to the Admiralty for the post of naturalist aboard a ship, the Investigator, for a surveying voyage along the northern and southern coasts of Australia under the command of Matthew Flinders.

Brown sailed with the expedition in July 1801. The Investigator reached King George Sound, Western Australia, an area of great floral richness and diversity, in December 1801. Until June 1803, and while the ship circumnavigated Australia, Brown made extensive plant collections. Returning to England in October 1805, Brown devoted his time to classifying the approximately 3,900 species he had gathered, almost all of which were new to science.

In 1828 Brown published a pamphlet, A Brief Account of Microscopical Observations…, about his observations of the “rapid oscillatory motion” of a variety of microscopic particles. Brown then experimented with organic and inorganic substances reduced to a fine powder and suspended in water. His work revealed the random movement to be a general property of matter in that state, and the phenomenon has long been known as Brownian motion in his honour. Brown was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1810 and served as president of the Linnean Society from 1849 to 1853. A number of Australian plant species, including Brown’s banksia (Banksia brownii) and Brown’s box (Eucalyptus brownii), are named after him. He died on 10 June 1858.
Description2 mounted water colour drawings of: 1) Montrose, the birthplace of Robert Brown, and 2) 17 Dean Street, Soho, the place where Brown died. A label, now mounted but originally on the reverse, reads "Lucas del.? (Mrs Btt.)".
Date[1860 - 1920]
LevelFile
Extent1 file
LanguageEnglish
NotesA preliminary sketch is also held in the archive
Creator NameLucas (?), Mrs Btt.
Access_StatusOpen
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