We had a look through our Collection and Archive – to see what we could find on herbs. Our Archive gave us the most to share, from plans of herb gardens to photographs of herbs from Joy Larkcom’s travels – our highlights are included below.
In our Collection we found a beautiful hand-coloured engraving of fennel. This ties in nicely with our gardening activity for sowing fennel seeds, which you can find on our main learning herb page.
A hand-coloured engraving of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) by the botanical artist John Sebastian Miller, c.1775, for his publication ‘Illustration Systematis Sexualis Linnaei’ (Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus). Born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1715, he was then known as Johann Sebastian Müller. His father was a professional gardener which is perhaps why he developed a passion for botany. He trained as an engraver before coming to England in 1744 and setting up a studio in London. By the 1760s Miller was established as a leading designer and engraver of historical images and portrait prints.
You can find out more about John Sebastian Miller here.
There are lots of interesting things relating to herbs in the Archive of Garden Design. We found two plans of herb gardens, by garden designers Russell Page (1906-1985) and Eleanour Sinclair Rohde (1881-1950). Both plans have geometric layouts, and if you look closely, you can read their instructions for planting. In the Joy Larkcom Archive, we found some photographs of herbs growing, being picked and then dried in Chanzeaux, the ‘City of Medicinal Herbs’ in France. The photographs were taken in 1976/7, when Joy was travelling in Europe doing research. We also found Joy’s collection of papers about the Munach Herb Garden in Denmark. This herb garden is a giant multi-coloured fan shape, reflecting the colours of the rainbow. This design inspired Joy to create her own fan-shaped kitchen garden in Ireland.
RHD/1 Plan for a herb garden at Ivy Cottage, Hertfordshire, by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde for Ewyas Harold (April 1935). The plan has a geometric layout featuring sage, lavender, lovage, tansy, hyssop, rue, orach, mullien, rosemary, marigolds and more.
RP/1/1/2/7 Garden design plan for a herb garden at The Cottage, Badminton House, by Russell Page for the Duke of Beaufort, David Somerset and Lady Caroline Somerset (30 May 1972)
LAR/2/6/3/58 Colour photographic slide of a field of red basil near St Remy de Provence, France, grown by Caussade Herb Company (5 August 1977)
LAR/2/6/3/86 Colour photographic slide of the medicinal herb garden in Chanzeaux, France, which was owned and managed by the municipality. Plants included poppy, Betula (birch), fennel, Salvia sclarea, and Physalis (14 August 1977)
LAR/2/6/5/169 Black and white photographic negative of herb grower M. Martineau, picking Chamomile seed heads in Chanzaeu, Loire Valley, France.
LAR/2/6/3/82 Colour photographic slide of calendula seed heads and chamomile being dried in a sechoir (drier) at herb grower M. Martineau’s workplace in Chanzeaux, the ‘City of Medicinal Herbs’, Loire Valley, France (14 August 1977)
LAR/2/6/3/83 Colour photographic slide of chamomile being dried in a sechoir (drier) at herb grower M. Martineau’s workplace in Chanzeaux, the ‘City of Medicinal Herbs’, Loire Valley, France (14 August 1977)
LAR/1/2/4 Solveig Bjerre Hanghøj’s plan for the Munach Herb Garden in eastern Denmark, annotated in blue with the English translations by Joy Larkcom (1997)
Images taken from the Eleanour Sinclair Rohde Archive, Russell Page Collection and Joy Larkcom Archive. RP/1/1/2/7 is © Estate of Russell Page
Archive Images Curated by Rosie Vizor, Garden Museum Archivist