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COLLECTION Identifier: arn00017

Chinese plants: 45 drawings in water-color

Scope and Content

Forty-five original watercolors of plants mounted on paper. The watercolors may have been produced in Canton. Many bear "M. and J. Lay or J. Whatman” watermarks dated 1815 to 1819. Watercolors include butterflies, moths, or other possible pollinators. Latin names have been added in pencil.


  • circa 1815-1819

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification. Please contact for additional information.


0.5 linear feet (1 flat oversize box, 1 shared oversize box) ; Plates measure 33 x 41 cm. Binding measures 36 x 42 cm.


The watercolors are arranged alphabetically by latin name. Plate numbers written in pencil in top right corner and may correspond to original order.


The provenance of this collection is unknown.

Related Materials

Other related material at the Botany Libraries, Harvard University Herbaria: Coloured botanical drawings by a Chinese artist; Paintings of Chinese fruits, flowers, and vegetables, natural size by native artists.

General note

Harvard's Imaging Services department digitized this collection as part of the "Original botanical illustrations of the Botany Libraries" project.

Processing Information

Plates removed from original binding, interleaved and rehoused in a box. Moved from Fol. 139.4 An8.

Collection title taken from note on end-sheet and collection dates based on watermarks. Title on spine of original binding: Chinese plants. Most plates include plant name written in pencil. Corrected and supplied plant names appear in brackets.

Chinese plants: 45 drawings in water-color, circa 1815-1819: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Arnold Arboretum Library in Cambridge specializes in the identification and classification of Old World plants with emphasis on Asia. The Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge) houses unique resources, primarily field notes related to the plant specimens housed in Cambridge.

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