University of Liverpool Art Gallery Looks At City's First Botanic Garden

by Roslyn Tappenden | 30 September 2005
Detailed colour drawing of a red flower with green leaves.

Many books from Roscoe's own collection are on display. Image courtesy of University of Liverpool Art Gallery.

The latest exhibition at the University of Liverpool Art Gallery remembers the city’s first botanic garden.

A Growing Concern, open until December 16 2005, gives visitors the chance to see botanical art and documents from the era.

More than 200 years ago, William Roscoe founded Liverpool’s first botanic garden between Myrtle Street and Crown Street in the city centre.

The garden was among the earliest of its kind in England and was the first institution in the city aimed at encouraging scientific study.

Black and white etching of William Roscoe.

Roscoe founded the city's first botanic garden in 1803. Image courtesy of University of Liverpool.

It was a testament to Roscoe’s interests and his ambition to create a cultural renaissance in Liverpool.

The original watercolour drawings for his book about the ginger family of plants have been loaned from Liverpool City Library for the exhibition.

Other rare items on display include printed books about flora and fauna, many of which are from Roscoe’s own collection.

Black and white map of the original garden.

Map of the original garden. Image courtesy of University of Liverpool.

The show brings together items from the university’s collections, National Museums Liverpool, the Liverpool Athenaeum, the Linnean Society of Liverpool and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

When it was opened in 1803 the garden functioned more like a public park and appealed to the growing popularity of gardening as a hobby as well as being a place for scientific study.

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