The library collections of the RHS were founded in 1806, beginning with a donation of just five volumes and a desire to create a resource for members to further their knowledge of every aspect of horticulture. In the two centuries that have followed many unique and valuable items have been entrusted to our care. From rare 16th-century herbals to the personal notebooks of plant collectors and garden designers, RHS Libraries now hold a range of diverse materials that need to be preserved for future generations of gardeners and historians alike.
This exhibition at the RHS Lindley Library describes how we protect and preserve our collections, exploring some of the challenges we face and the approaches that can be used to overcome them. The displays will look at the different types of material in our collections and will provide the opportunity to showcase recently conserved items.
The sketchbook of the influential garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, recently conserved as part of a major project, will be the highlight of this exhibition. Dating from the 1860s to 1908 this volume includes sketches and tracings of horticultural motifs and architectural features. The rich visual material she collected and created demonstrates her everlasting interest in pattern, colour and texture. This important resource provides an insight into her working processes and documents the influences behind the elegant and carefully arranged planting schemes for which she has become so well known.
Image: detail from the sketchbook of Gertrude Jekyll, recently conserved by the RHS Lindley Library.