Henry Noltie

Dr Henry Noltie, Research Associate, Historical Researcher

After studying botany at Oxford, and Museum Studies at Leicester, Henry Noltie worked at RBGE from 1986 to 2017 as a curator and taxonomist. For 14 years he worked on the Flora of Bhutan project, leading the team for its concluding years. He wrote two of the volumes of the Flora, relating to the monocots, for which he received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh. From 2000 his work was on historical aspects of the rich herbarium and illustrations collections of the RBGE, especially relating to India, which combined nomenclatural research with historical and art-history studies and the mounting of exhibitions at Inverleith House. This resulted in a series of publications on Scottish East India Company surgeons, and the botanical drawings they commissioned from Indian artists in the late 18th and early 19th century. This work was extended into SE Asia in a collaboration with the British Library on the collections of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

He also has interests in Scottish botany during the 18th century, including the Scottish Enlightenment botanist John Hope. This also took visual materials for its starting point – the unique collection of Hope’s teaching drawings preserved at RBGE - and led to the writing of a short biography in 2011.

The last of the Indian monographs, published in 2016 and 2018, consists of three volumes on the collections of Hugh Cleghorn (1820–1895), a pioneering Forest Conservator, but also the source of one of the largest groups of botanical drawings and many important books in the RBGE collection.

As a Research Associate Henry continues to work in all these areas of interest, most recently on a collection of botanical drawings made in the 1780s at Dunkeld and Blair Atholl by Lady Charlotte Murray.

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