This website provides access to the general botanical watercolours, the bramble illustrations and Druce Illustrations by Charlotte Georgina Trower
Charlotte Georgina Trower (1855-1928) was the youngest of two brothers and one sister, Alice Trower (1853-1929). The Trowers were a wealthy Hertfordshire family whose estate, Stansteadbury (near Stanstead Abbotts), was taken on by the two spinster sisters when their eldest brother died in 1914. Both sisters were keenly interested in plants and Charlotte was a gifted botanical watercolourist. In April 1907, Alice wrote to George Claridge Druce (1850-1932), the most prominent amateur British botanist of the early 20th century, to request help in locating plants for Charlotte to paint: 'I shall be very grateful for any information that you can give me - every one who really cares for wild flowers is so kind in helping us'. These well-chosen words started a friendship and correspondence that would last until her death in 1929. Druce collaborated with Charlotte and Alice on the watercolours from 1907 and finally acquired the whole collection in 1928, which he, in turn, bequeathed to the University of Oxford in 1932.
Charlotte Trower almost always worked, early in the morning, from fresh plants that she or her sister had collected from the wild, their garden or had been sent to them via their network of collaborators. Fresh material from their collaborators was sent in boxes via the postal service. Naturally, such treatment meant that some specimens arrived in a very poor state for painting, although Charlotte skilfully applied numerous techniques to revive the plants ranging from water, a darkened room to a dose of spirit.
Three unequal parts to the Trower Watercolour Collection
Harris, S.A. (2010) The Trower collection: Botanical watercolours of an Edwardian lady. Journal of the History of Collections 22: 115-128.
Please note that these data may only be used for scientific purposes. They may not be sold or used for commercial purposes. For further information, contact Stephen Harris, Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria.
The specimens at the Oxford herbaria and the living collections of the Oxford Botanic Garden are being digitized using BRAHMS and published online using BRAHMS WebConnect.