“This book is about a remarkable collection of botanical drawings belonging to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. The watercolours were commissioned by Alexander Gibson, an East India Company surgeon, and depict plants grown in the botanic gardens under his control in the Bombay Presidency. They are the work of an unknown Portuguese-Indian artist and were made between 1847 and 1850.
The main section of the book includes colour reproductions of the 170 drawings arranged in the order of the Bombay Flora, which Gibson co-authored with Nicholas Dalzell. Half the species depicted are native to western India, the other half are exotics from as far afield as Argentina and Australia. The colour plates are preceded by substantial chapters on Gibson’s life and work (including his role as a pioneering forest conservator), and a history of Dapuri and Gibson’s other botanic gardens. An illustrated introduction tells of the author’s travels in search of information about Gibson, his gardens and the drawings.”