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Support our vital conservation work in the Library

The Royal Society of Medicine’s Library is seeking your help to conserve the rare herbal: English Botany, or Coloured Figures of British Plants 3rd edition (1863-1870) by James Sowerby.

A beautifully illustrated English herbal, the 11-volume set of the 3rd edition of Sowerby’s Botany, purchased by the RSM in the nineteenth century, is in need of urgent conservation.

Originally published as a 36-volume set between 1790 and 1813, with an index and a number of additional supplements, Sowerby’s Botany was the first systematic and largely comprehensive herbal to be published in Britain with full colour illustrations, intended for both botanists and the general public.

Thanks to a recent donation, the first three volumes of this 11-volume set have already been repaired by professional book and paper conservators, but the remaining volumes are in need of conservation.

Can you help?

Each volume costs approximately £400 to be fully conserved and the fragile, acidic paper made stable, to enable its use and display in the Library. This includes page repairs using archival heat-set tissue, re-sewing and re-binding in antiquarian-style cloth while keeping the original covers and spine.

By making a donation, you are helping the Library to conserve Sowerby’s Botany for the future. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated and if you are able to fund the full cost for a volume to be conserved, a bookplate will be placed in the volume, recording your generosity.

Please donate today and help us safeguard the RSM’s heritage.

How to donate

Contact the Library at

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