Ref NoMS/625
TitleProof plates for a work on Swiss flora - James Sowerby
AdminHistoryJames Sowerby (1757 - 1822) was an English naturalist and illustrator.

Sowerby was born on 21 March 1757 in Lambeth, London, to Arabella and John Sowerby. Having decided to become a painter, he began working with William Curtis, and illustrated Curtis' 'Flora Londinensis'. Sowerby then studied art at the Royal Academy and took an apprenticeship with Richard Wright. He married Anne Brettingham De Carle and they were to have three sons: James De Carle Sowerby (1787–1871), George Brettingham Sowerby I (1788–1854) and Charles Edward Sowerby (1795–1842), the Sowerby family of naturalists. His sons and theirs were to contribute and continue the enormous volumes he was to begin and the Sowerby name was to remain associated with illustration of natural history. Sowerby worked on a number of large scale publications including a 36 volume work, started in 1790, on the botany of England that was published over the next 24 years. It contained 2592 hand-colored engravings, with descriptions supplied by Sir James Edward Smith, and was entitled 'English Botany'. Sowerby also developed a theory of colour and worked on publications relating to minerology and zoology. Sowerby died on 25 October 1822.
Edmund Davall (1762-1798) was born on 24 November 1762 in England to Edmund Davall (1737-1784) and Charlotte Thomasset (1728-1788) both of Swiss origin. After his father's death, Davall returned to Switzerland with his mother and took up residence with his aunts at Orbe, Canton de Vaud. Here he created a botanical garden which he looked after. Davall became interested in botany, making the acquaintance of Edward Forster and of James Edward Smith, and was one of the original Fellows of the Linnean Society. He was elected as a Fellow on the 15 July 1788. In 1787, he discovered different plants with Albrecht von Haller (1758-1823), which is classified in the nomenclature of Jean Louis Antoine Reynier (1762-1824). It was his neighbor Charles Victor de Bonstetten (1745-1832), the last bailiff of Nyon and member of the Groupe de Coppet , who encouraged him to get in touch with Jakob Samuel Wyttenbach (1748-1830), pastor and naturalist. He is also related to Jean Senebier (1742-1809), pastor, botanist and librarian of Geneva, La Chenal and the great naturalist Horace Benedict de Saussure (1740-1799), who came to visit him in Orbe. Saussure cites Davall in his Travels in the Alps published in Neuchâtel in 1796.

In November 1789 Davall married a Swiss woman named De Cottens, by whom he had a daughter, who died in infancy, and a son, Edmond (born 25 March 1793), who went on to be a botanist and politician. Davall died on 26 September 1798, leaving an unfinished work on the Swiss Flora, and his name was perpetuated in the genus of ferns Davallia by his correspondent Smith.
Description9 proofs of unpublished engravings of plants by James Sowerby, prepared in 1790 for a work on a proposed project, The Swiss Flora, by Edmund Davall.

Plates numbers. 1,6,8-10 appear on 5 of them. Numbers 6, 8-10 are signed "F. Du Cros delint" and all the numbered plates are signed "Js Sowerby sculp. Lon.". Number 5 is hand coloured. Seven plates have botanical names included:

- Androsace carnea (x2)
- Gentiana tenella
- Scirpus elongatus
- Carex Ballardi Allion
- Agaricus venosus
- Crepis muricata
Extent1 folder
Creator NameSowerby, James
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