Appeal to identify 'La Botaniste' who slipped from history


When sorting through books gathering dust in the attic, it's common to find mementos of the past such as a poem, a pressed-flower, or a letter.

But when staff at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) went through hundreds of old plant books, they stumbled on a collection of botanical treasures the likes of which they'd never seen before.

Tucked inside a copy of The English Flora from 1830 were poems, doodles, plant specimens and a cartoon.

Judging by the contents, the owner was a keen plants woman. But her name, Isabella A Allen, appears to have slipped from history.

She may be the early 19th Century botanical illustrator about which little is known. Or she could be among the legions of uncelebrated 19th Century women with a passionate interest in plants.

Either way, the RHS is hoping to track her down to find out more about her life.

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