UK: Royal Horticultural Society treasures placed in digital library

Some of the treasures held by the Royal Horticultural Society are so rare, fragile or valuable, that they could not show them to the public. That was until now as the charity has launched a digital library of more than 10,000 items which allows the public to access their collection for free.

Some of the otherwise inaccessible treasures include the account book of Lancelot “Capability” Brown, which details his famous aristocratic and royal clients and Humphry Repton’s Red Book for Waresley Park, a Georgian lift-the-flap book of before and after garden designs.

The 10,000 books, photographs, artworks and herbarium specimens now available span more than 500 years of gardening history and science. The account book of Capability Brown showing the payment to and from England’s greatest is so fragile that normally researchers can only see a “surrogate copy”.

The original now reveals in scrawling handwriting how on April 26 1765 “the King most excellent majesty” paid him £500, but notes that it had been “due in March”.


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