I visited the Herbarium Dept of Manchester Museum a few weeks ago - in search of the 'missing' herbarium sheets from the Robert Dick Collection held in Caithness Horizons, Thurso. Now, plant names are not my thing, and any plant of special interest to the botanical world would have to be pointed out to me. I do, however, really enjoy looking at these old, pressed herbarium sheets, and the intrigue behind them which I was initially unaware of.
It seems that herbarium sheets were commonly 'swapped' between collectors. This much I had found out. Click here to read a detailed account of the Botanical Exchange Club, and how it was set up. Our Robert Dick, baker and botanist of Thurso, 1811-1866, was a contributor.
What I found incredible, was that each time a herbarium sheet was passed from one collection to another, they each added their own label - on the front of the sheet next to the plant specimen, not discretely on the back.
The name 'Notcutt' appears very frequently on Robert Dicks herbarium sheets in Caithness Horizons, Thurso. It seems Mr Notcutt was once secretary to one version of the Botanical Exchange club. The entry for Mr Notcutt in the "Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists" lists Notcutt as a correspondent of Mr Robert Dick.
His collection ended up in Manchester Museum via Charles Bailey.
The plant specimen on this sheet were collected by Robert Dick in Melvich, Sutherland. This is the first evidence on a herbarium sheet of his walks in this location. It's been in quite a few collections, given the number of labels and stamps on the herbarium sheet.
With much thanks to Lindsay Loughtman, curatorial Assistant (Botany)
and Rachel Webster, curator of Botany.
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