Henry Compton's (1631/2-1713) plate

Henry Compton's (1631/2-1713) plate

The plants on this plate all have four small, nutlike fruits held inside a cup made from the calyx of the flower (see betony on left of top row). However, rather than the structure of the fruit, Morison chooses to base his classification for this plate on the shape of the flowers and their position on the stem. All except the final plant on the plate are part of the mint family (Lamiaceae).

This plate is sponsored by Henry Compton (1631/2-1713). Compton was made Bishop of Oxford in 1674, then Bishop of London a year late – a post he held until death. Compton had also sponsored one of the plates in Morison’s Plantarum umbelliferarum distributio nova (1672). At Fulham Palace, Compton created one of the great gardens of late seventeenth-century England, populating it will a great many exotics that were unknown elsewhere in the country. His collections of North American plants were particularly admired.
Compton was a correspondent of Bobart the Younger (1641-1719), who collected specimens from the Palace gardens and deposited them in collections that are now part of Oxford University Herbaria.

This is one of few plates in the Historia with a date, 1676; Compton probably funded the engraving soon after he arrived in the London see.