John Lindley

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For other uses, see John Lindley (disambiguation). John Lindley_sentence_0

John Lindley_table_infobox_0

John LindleyJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_0_0
BornJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_1_0 (1799-02-05)5 February 1799

Catton, EnglandJohn Lindley_cell_0_1_1

DiedJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_2_0 1 November 1865(1865-11-01) (aged 66)

Turnham GreenJohn Lindley_cell_0_2_1

NationalityJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_3_0 EnglishJohn Lindley_cell_0_3_1
Alma materJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_4_0 Norwich SchoolJohn Lindley_cell_0_4_1
AwardsJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_5_0 Royal Medal (1857)John Lindley_cell_0_5_1
FieldsJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_6_0 John Lindley_cell_0_6_1
InstitutionsJohn Lindley_header_cell_0_7_0 Royal Horticultural SocietyJohn Lindley_cell_0_7_1
Author abbrev. (botany)John Lindley_header_cell_0_8_0 Lindl.John Lindley_cell_0_8_1

John Lindley FRS (5 February 1799 – 1 November 1865) was an English botanist, gardener and orchidologist. John Lindley_sentence_1

Early years John Lindley_section_0

Born in Catton, near Norwich, England, John Lindley was one of four children of George and Mary Lindley. John Lindley_sentence_2

George Lindley was a nurseryman and pomologist and ran a commercial nursery garden. John Lindley_sentence_3

Although he had great horticultural knowledge, the undertaking was not profitable and George lived in a state of indebtedness. John Lindley_sentence_4

As a boy he would assist in the garden and also collected wild flowers he found growing in the Norfolk countryside. John Lindley_sentence_5

Lindley was educated at Norwich School. John Lindley_sentence_6

He would have liked to go to university or to buy a commission in the army but the family could not afford either. John Lindley_sentence_7

He became Belgian agent for a London seed merchant in 1815. John Lindley_sentence_8

At this time Lindley became acquainted with the botanist William Jackson Hooker who allowed him to use his botanical library and who introduced him to Sir Joseph Banks who offered him employment as an assistant in his herbarium. John Lindley_sentence_9

His first publication, in 1819, a translation of the Analyse du fruit of L. John Lindley_sentence_10 C. M. Richard, was followed in 1820 by an original , with descriptions of new species, and drawings executed by himself, then in 1821 by Monographia Digitalium, and "Observations on Pomaceae", which were both contributed to the Linnean Society. John Lindley_sentence_11

Career John Lindley_section_1

Lindley went to work at Banks’ house in London. John Lindley_sentence_12

He concentrated on the generaRosa” and “Digitalis” and published the monograph “A Botanical History of Roses” which distinguished seventy-six species, describes thirteen new ones and was illustrated by nineteen coloured plates painted by himself. John Lindley_sentence_13

He became acquainted with Joseph Sabine who grew a large assortment of roses and was the Secretary of the Horticultural Society of London. John Lindley_sentence_14

His employment came to an abrupt end with the death of Banks a few months later. John Lindley_sentence_15

One of Banks’ friends, a wealthy merchant called William Cattley, paid Lindley to draw and describe new plants in his garden at Barnet. John Lindley_sentence_16

He also paid for the publication of “Digitalia Monographia”. John Lindley_sentence_17

(Later Lindley honoured him by naming the orchid genus Cattleya after him.) John Lindley_sentence_18

In 1820, at the age of twenty-one, Lindley was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society of London. John Lindley_sentence_19

From 1821 to 1826 he published a folio work with coloured illustrations that he had painted himself, “Collectanea botanica or Figures and botanic Illustrations of rare and curious exotic Plants”. John Lindley_sentence_20

Many of these plants came from the family Orchidaceae with which he had a lifelong fascination. John Lindley_sentence_21

Lindley was appointed assistant secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society and its new garden at Chiswick in 1822, where he supervised the collection of plants. John Lindley_sentence_22

Assistant secretary to the Horticultural Society since 1822, in 1829 Lindley was appointed to the chair of botany at University College, London, which he retained until 1860. John Lindley_sentence_23

He also lectured on botany from 1831 at the Royal Institution, including delivering the 1833 Royal Institution Christmas Lecture, and from 1836 at the Chelsea Physic Garden, starting the society's flower show in the late 1830s. John Lindley_sentence_24

Lindley described the plants collected on Thomas Livingstone Mitchell's expeditions of 1838 and wrote an Appendix to Edwards's Botanical Register of 1839, describing plants collected by James Drummond and Georgiana Molloy of the Swan River Colony in Western Australia. John Lindley_sentence_25

According to John Ryan, Lindley's 1840 ‘Sketch of the Vegetation of the Swan River Colony’ provided ‘the most succinct portrait to date of the flora of the Swan River Settlement’, which had been established in 1829. John Lindley_sentence_26

The Sketch, which was published during November 1839 and January 1840 in Edwards’ Botanical Register and separately on its completion, was illustrated by nine hand-coloured lithographs and four wood-cuts. John Lindley_sentence_27

He also played a large part in having Charles Moore appointed as Director of the Sydney Botanical Gardens. John Lindley_sentence_28

During his professorship, he wrote many scientific and popular works as well as making significant contributions to the Botanical Register, of which he was the editor for many years, and to The Gardeners' Chronicle, where he was in charge of the horticultural department from 1841. John Lindley_sentence_29

He was a fellow of the Royal, Linnean and Geological Societies. John Lindley_sentence_30

He received the Royal Society's royal medal in 1857, and in 1853 became a corresponding member of the Institut de France. John Lindley_sentence_31

Horticultural Society of London John Lindley_section_2

About this time, the Horticultural Society of London, which became the Royal Horticultural Society at a later date, asked Lindley to draw roses and in 1822 he became the Assistant Secretary of the Society's garden. John Lindley_sentence_32

The Society's historian, Harold R Fletcher, later described him as “ … the backbone of the Society and possibly the greatest servant it had ever had.” Now with a steady income, in 1823 he married Sarah Freestone (1797–1869). John Lindley_sentence_33

They rented a house in rural Acton Green, a location convenient for the Society's garden at Turnham Green. John Lindley_sentence_34

The Secretary of the Horticultural Society of London at that time was Joseph Sabine and he authorised expenditure on large projects beyond the Society's means. John Lindley_sentence_35

Lindley could only expostulate and was unsuccessful in moderating his actions. John Lindley_sentence_36

By 1830, the Society had mounting debts and a committee of enquiry was set up. John Lindley_sentence_37

Sabine resigned as Secretary and Lindley successfully defended his own position and carried the Society forward with the new Honorary Secretary, George Bentham. John Lindley_sentence_38

Middle years John Lindley_section_3

An eminent botanist of the time, John Claudius Loudon, sought Lindley's collaboration on his “Encyclopedia of Plants”. John Lindley_sentence_39

This covered nearly fifteen thousand species of flowering plants and ferns. John Lindley_sentence_40

It was a massive undertaking and Lindley was responsible for most of it. John Lindley_sentence_41

During his labour on this undertaking, which was completed in 1829, and through arduous study of character patterns, he became convinced of the superiority of the "natural" classification system devised by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu – a system that he believed reflected the great plan of nature as distinct from the "artificial" system of Linnaeus followed in the Encyclopaedia of Plants. John Lindley_sentence_42

This conviction found expression in A Synopsis of British Flora, arranged according to the Natural Order (1829) and in (1830). John Lindley_sentence_43

In 1828 Lindley was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London and in 1833 was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Munich. John Lindley_sentence_44

Other honours came from France, the United States and Switzerland. John Lindley_sentence_45

In 1829 Lindley sought to augment his income and became professor of botany at the newly established London University while still continuing his post at the Royal Horticultural Society. John Lindley_sentence_46

He had not been to university himself but apparently was an excellent teacher, giving six hour-long lectures each week. John Lindley_sentence_47

Being dissatisfied with what was available, he wrote some botanical textbooks for his students. John Lindley_sentence_48

After the death of Joseph Banks and the death also of their patron, King George III, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew went into a decline. John Lindley_sentence_49

The Government commissioned a report on their future to be prepared by Lindley, Joseph Paxton and John Wilson, head gardener to the Earl of Surrey. John Lindley_sentence_50

The report recommended that the Gardens be retained but the Government did not accept their findings and proposed to abolish it, distribute the plants and pull down the glasshouses. John Lindley_sentence_51

On 11 February 1840, Lindley told the Prime Minister that the matter was to be raised in Parliament. John Lindley_sentence_52

This caused an outcry. John Lindley_sentence_53

The public was indignant, the Government backed down and the Gardens were saved. John Lindley_sentence_54

William Hooker was appointed to be the new Director. John Lindley_sentence_55

In 1845, Lindley was part of a scientific commission set up by the Government to investigate potato blight and the Irish famine. John Lindley_sentence_56

The cause of the fungal disease was not known at the time and the weather was thought to be to blame. John Lindley_sentence_57

Although the commission was powerless to solve the problem, their report brought about the repeal of the 1815 Corn Laws which had forbidden the import of cheap wheat from America. John Lindley_sentence_58

This helped to alleviate the effects of the disease on populations that had become reliant on the monoculture of potatoes. John Lindley_sentence_59

He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1859. John Lindley_sentence_60

Lindley was very industrious and hardworking and published a number of works including ‘’The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants’’, the writing of which occupied him for ten years. John Lindley_sentence_61

He was acknowledged to be the top authority on the classification of orchids of his time. John Lindley_sentence_62

Bentham and Hooker, writing in 1883, accepted 114 genera he had named and described, and Pfitzer, in 1889, accepted 127. John Lindley_sentence_63

Over many years, Lindley had described a large number of orchid species, and many other plants, naming them and giving each a concise description of the plant’s characteristics. John Lindley_sentence_64

He was held in high regard by other botanists and was honoured by naming more than 200 species with the epithets "lindleyi", "lindleyana", "lindleyanum", "lindleyanus", "lindleya" and "lindleyoides". John Lindley_sentence_65

Later years John Lindley_section_4

In 1861, Lindley took charge of organising the exhibits from the British colonies for the International Exhibition at South Kensington. John Lindley_sentence_66

This was exhausting work and seems to have taken a toll on his health. John Lindley_sentence_67

His memory also began deteriorating. John Lindley_sentence_68

He resigned his university professorship that year and his position as Secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society two years later. John Lindley_sentence_69

In 1863 he travelled to Vichy, a spa in the center of France, but his health continued to decline. John Lindley_sentence_70

He died at his home at Acton Green, near London, aged 66. John Lindley_sentence_71

He was survived by his wife, two daughters including Sarah Lindley Crease and a son. John Lindley_sentence_72

The daughters were accomplished artists themselves and the son, Nathaniel, became a distinguished lawyer, the Master of the Rolls and a life peer. John Lindley_sentence_73

List of selected publications John Lindley_section_5

See also John Lindley_section_6

John Lindley_unordered_list_0

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Lindley.