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Blaikie, Thomas, 1751-1838, gardener

  • VIAF ID: 27223442 (Personal) Permalink: http://viaf.org/viaf/27223442
  • Person
  • 1751-1838

Thomas Blaikie was born in 1751 in Corstorphine, the son of a market gardener. It is suggested he may have been a student gardener at RBGE and possibly then worked at Kew, the Hammersmith nursery and Upton House in East Ham for Dr John Fothergill. He was engaged jointly by Dr Fothergill and Dr William Pitcairn to undertake a plant collecting trip in the Swiss Alps from April to December 1775. In September 1776 James Lee of the Hammersmith Nursery engaged Blaikie to provide plants for the Comte de Lauraguais and he was subsequently employed to work on the Comte’s garden in Normandy. From 1778 he was employed in the gardens at Bagatelle by the Comte D’Artois, the youngest brother of Louis XVI and future Charles X. He also worked at St Leu, Monceau and Le Raincy for the Duc de Chartres (who later became Duc D’Orleans and then Philippe Égalité) and undertook a number of private commissions. It is also thought that he was involved in making alterations to the gardens at Malmaison.

Blaikie is credited with introducing the English style of gardening and British gardeners to France, where his method of grafting came to be known as ‘graffe Blaikie’. He died at his house on the rue de Vignes in Paris in 1838. His diaries covering the period 1775 to 1792 were published in 1931, entitled ‘Diary of a Scotch Gardener at the French Court at the end of the Eighteenth Century’.

Boissier, Pierre Edmond

  • VIAF ID: 57361312 (Personal); ISNI: 0000 0000 8385 3551
  • Person
  • 1818-1885

Bowles, Edward Augustus

  • GB/NNAF/P162208
  • Person
  • 1865-1954

Horticulturist, plantsman and garden writer.

Brand, William

  • GB/NNAF/P148678
  • Person
  • 1807-1869

Born in 1807, the son of a farmer at Blackhouse, near Peterhead, William Brand was initially educated in parish schools before being apprenticed to Writers (solicitors) in Peterhead then in Edinburgh where he entered legal classes at the University. Having completed his legal education he became a Writer to the Signet in 1834 and a partner in the Edinburgh firm of Scott, Findlay and Balderston. In 1846 he was elected Secretary to the Union Bank of Scotland, a position he held until his death. In 1863 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Whilst completing his medical degree at Edinburgh University, Brand developed a strong interest in botany, accompanying Professor Robert Graham (Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Professor of Botany at Edinburgh University) on collecting excursions throughout Scotland during 1830 and 1831. In 1836, when meetings were being held to discuss the creation of a new Botanical Society, Brand was there. He attended the inaugural meeting of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh on the 8th February 1836 making him a founding member and also logical choice for its first Treasurer. He developed ideas for a number of Society publications, devised methods for arranging and cataloguing the Society’s herbarium and collected a significant herbarium collection himself, discovering several new plants including <i>Astragalus alpinus</i> in the process.
He was also a member of the Botanical Society Club, an offshoot of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh initially comprising its original members, becoming its Secretary. At the last Club meeting he attended, in June 1869, he complained of feeling ill. After a couple of months he recovered enough to visit relatives in Peterhead, but became ill again on his return home, dying on October 15th 1869. He left behind a widow, a son and two daughters.
DW and LP

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