Ref NoMS/658
Title5 watercolour drawings of Indian Irises - D. Don
AdminHistoryDavid Don (1799-1841) was a Scottish botanist, professor of Botany at King's College London and librarian at the Linnean Society of London.

Don was born on 21 December 1799 at Doo Hillock, Forfar, Angus, Scotland to Caroline Clementina Stuart, and her husband George Don, a practical botanist who established a Nursery and Botanic Garden in Forfar, and was appointed a curator at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. With his father's position at the Garden, Don was able to attend classes in Botany and also received further training from his father after he quit his position.

Don returned to Edinburgh and was put in charge of the stoves and greenhouses of Dickson of Broughton, before moving to London in 1819 to become the librarian for the botanist Aylmer Bourke Lambert (1761-1842) and compiled for him, 'Prodromus florae nepalensis ...', a work based on collections made by the botanists Francis Hamilton [also known as Francis Buchanan-Hamilton] and Nathaniel Wallich of the Calcutta Botanic Garden. At this time he also published, 'Descriptions of several new or rare native Plants, found in Scotland ...' and 'A monograph of the genus Saxifraga'. These publications brought him a favourable reputation and he was appointed to the role of librarian at the Linnean Society in 1822, a position he held until his death in 1841.

In 1836 Don also became Professor of Botany at King's College London. However, in 1840 he had a tumour in his lower lip, which was removed, but reappeared in his neck and was diagnosed as terminal. The cancer took its toll on Don who died on 8 December 1841 and was buried in Kensal Green. He was married to Mary Evans (1788/9-1864), but had no children.

Don was widely respected by his peers for his knowledge and works in botany, which numbered around 48 and are featured in the Transactions of the Linnean Society.
Description5 watercolour drawings of Indian irises, all unsigned:

- "Iris longifolia", no watermark
- "Iris decora Wall.", watermark 1816
- "Iris [kumaonensis], Wall.", watermark 1819
- "Iris napalensis Wall.", 2 drawings, watermarks 1813 and 1825. Second drawing adds extra information about location of plant.
Date[1830 - 1840]
LevelItem
Extent5 drawings
LanguageEnglish
NotesSee Don's 'Descriptions of the Indian species of Iris', Trans.Linn.Soc.Lond., 18, 1840, p.309, in which he bases his descriptions ‘from a series of drawings in the possession of Dr Royle’.
Creator NameDon, David, 1799-1841
Access_StatusOpen
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