Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hooker and Fitch: Rhododendron dalhousiae



This hand-colored lithograph, which is the frontispiece for Joseph Dalton Hooker's The Rhododendrons of the Sikkim Himalaya, was made by Walter Hood Fitch after a drawing by Hooker. I wonder whether Alexander McCall Smith named his philosopher-heroine, Isabel Dalhousie, after this lovely plant.

A few facts about Walter Hood Fitch

A few facts about Joseph Dalton Hooker
(June 30, 1817 - December 10, 1911)
1. He was the son of renowned botanist William Jackson Hooker.
2. Being educated and qualified as a physician meant that he was eligible to join the Naval Medical Service. Upon joining the Service, he embarked with the sailing expedition of Captain James Clark Ross to the South Magnetic Pole.
3. Hooker next traveled (1847–1851) to India and the Himalayas. He was the first European to collect plant species in the Himalayas; the illustration above is from that journey.
4. Other travels took him to Palestine (1860), Morocco (1871), and the United States (1877).
5. His daughter, Lady Harriet Anne Thiselton-Dyer, was an accomplished botanical illustrator.

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