Exhibition | Botanical Watercolours from the the Van Berkhey Collection

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on April 17, 2012

On at NCB Naturalis, as noted by Hélène Bremer:

Passion for Flowers: Drawings from the Van Berkhey Collection
NCB Naturalis, the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity, Leiden, 29 March — 8 July 2012

Johannes le Francq van Berkhey (1729-1812) was a man of the Enlightenment. His love for the arts, antiquities, literature and the natural sciences was reflected in his being an artist, collector, writer and lector in Natural History. He obtained a doctorate in medicine in his beloved home town of Leiden for his thesis on botanical studies. Over a period of forty years he assembled a magnificent and wide-ranging collection of natural history objects, including a remarkable collection of drawings and engravings, intended as a classified version of the entire living nature. Having a wide interest in his time, he could not keep himself out of politics. After being denounced for his political ideas, he was forced to sell his collections at auction in order to pay for his defence in court in 1785. The Spanish Royal Cabinet for Natural History realised the value of Van Berkhey’s collection and acquired it to advance the knowledge of natural history.

At Naturalis, for the first time, we present a careful selection of 41 of his botanical illustrations, meticulously preserved in Madrid’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The species represented include clovers,
lilies, peonies, roses, bamboos, chrysanthemums, asters, poppies and a flowering branch of a cherry or plum tree; species that typically started being introduced into European gardens during the 18th century.

Passie voor bloemen is on view until 8 July 2012.

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NCB Naturalis, the Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity, was launched on 28 January 2010. The centre is the result of cooperation between Amsterdam University (Amsterdam Zoological Museum), Leiden University and Wageningen University and Research Centre (National Herbarium Nederland) and the National Natural History Museum Naturalis in Leiden. The partners’ collections will come together at NCB Naturalis into a collection totalling over 37 million objects. In terms of collection size, NCB Naturalis is one of the top five natural history museums in the world.

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