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The links between the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and India go back for two centuries. Medics who studied botany in the Garden as part of their training laid the foundations of our knowledge of the Indian flora. This study entailed the making of dried herbarium specimens and writing plant descriptions. The botanists also commissioned Indian artists to make paintings of the plants to supplement the specimens and written descriptions. Much of this material was sent back to Britain where it survives in collections such as that at Edinburgh.
This book tells the story of these collections, with an emphasis on the paintings, which have languished largely unknown in the Library of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. A selection of 62 of these spectacular illustrations was conserved and exhibited in Inverleith House in 1998, as part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence. These are reproduced in full colour.