image ms_109_19
Image number: RS.17967
Credit: ©The Royal Society

'Alaternoides Africana'




Jacob van Huysum (1682-1745, Dutch), Painter

Object type

Archive reference number



height: 375mm
width: 270mm


Content object

   > plant
      > flower


Botanical study of a specimen of clutia alaternoides. This plant is native to South Africa. Painting shows a branch of leafy plant, with white flowers in bud.

Painting 19 from MS/109, a collection of botanical paintings by Jacob van Huysum and William Sartorius.

Inscribed in ink 'Alaternoides Africana, erica foliis, floribus albicantibus & muscosis H. Amst.' Not signed.

This plant is described by Dr Jan Commelin in 'Horti medici Amstelodamensis', vol. 2 (1701). A specimen of this plant was noted in 'A catalogue of the fifty plants from Chelsea-Garden, presented to the Royal Society ... 1731', by Isaac Rand, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, vol. 38, issue 427. It was one of the specimens from the yearly collection sent by the Society of Apothecaries’ Physic Garden at Chelsea to the Royal Society. This means of capturing the specimens was initially proposed by Taylor White, who presented a collection of watercolours by van Huysum in 1734. Philip Miller (1691 – 1771), Gardener to the Society of Apothecaries and Fellow of the Royal Society, was asked by the Council to select the plants to be preserved in this way in 1734, and references to this commission occur in the Society records up to 1737.

Jacob van Huysum (1682-1745), Dutch botanical painter, was not a Fellow of the Royal Society. He produced most of the 50 illustrations for the Historia Plantarum Rariorum (London: 1728-38) written by John Martyn FRS, and all the drawings for Philip Miller’s Catalogus Plantarum (1730), an index of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers.

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