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Elizabeth Twining and the Strand area

Colour lithograph showing examples of species from six different countriesColour lithograph showing examples of species from six different countriesElizabeth Twining’s Illustrations of the natural orders of plants with groups and descriptions has been described by Theresa Deane as one of ‘the finest lithographic flower books of the mid-nineteenth century’.

The copy from which this image is from, which is a reduced version of the original folio edition, was published by Sampson Low, Son, and Marston, whose offices were based near Chancery Lane on 188 Fleet Street from 1867 to 1887.

The book contains colour lithographs and descriptions of various families of flowering plants. Throughout the work, Twining aimed to include native English species alongside examples from foreign countries.

This resulted in fascinating illustrations that combine plants from an array of countries. The image reproduced here shows examples of species from six different countries, ranging from Britain to Brazil.

Elizabeth Twining (1805-89) was an accomplished botanist and botanic artist, as well as a social reformer and member of the famous Twining tea merchant family (whose flagship tea shop, opened in 1706, is still located on 216 Strand).

The Twining family had a long association with King’s College London. Elizabeth Twining was a subscriber and governor of King's College Hospital for many years. Her father, Richard Twining (1772-1857), was a member of King’s first Committee of Management, and the Twining Ward, named after Richard and his wife Elizabeth Twining (c1780-1866), still exists today.

The copy of the work featured here was presented to King’s by Louisa Twining (1820-1912), Elizabeth’s younger sister, who was also a philanthropist and social reformer. Louisa’s signature is on the title page of this volume.

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