• Henry John Elwes

    1846-1922

    1878-1880 he published a Monograph of the Genus Lilium in London, illustrated by W.H. Finch.

    Henry John Elwes was born in 1846. He was the son of John Henry Elwes and Mary Bromley, a British botanist and entomologist. Henry Elwes was the first person to receive the Victoria Medal of the Royal Horticultural Society in 1897. 

    He was the author of Monograph of the Genus Lilium (1880) and Trees of Great Britain and Ireland with Augustine Henry, as well as numerous articles. He left a collection of 30,000 butterfly specimens to the Natural History Museum. 

    Elwes travelled widely, visiting India several times.His interest in botany was sparked by a visit to the Himalayan region, and the journey itself was inspired by reading Hooker's Himalayan Journals. 

    In the garden at his home at Colesbourne in Gloucestershire, England. He was able to grow many of the members of the Lilium genus and was a recognised expert in the field. To ensure that the text was as accurate as possible, and that the range of lilies was as complete as possible, he consulted the greatest botanical experts in the field to assist in the writing of the text. This level of excellence was continued with the illustrations, and Elwes was able to carry through his plan to illustrate the monograph with hand-coloured plates by the best available botanical artist, with each member of the genus shown full-size. Between March 1877 and May 1880 subscribers received seven parts (at a total cost of seven guineas), illustrated with 48 plates by W. H. Fitch. Shortly before his death in 1922 Elwes had asked A. Grove, a friend and fellow lily expert, to undertake the task of producing a supplement. Dame Alice Godman, who was related by marriage to Elwes, agreed to underwrite the cost of the work, and (co- written by Grove and the botanist A.D. Cotton the first seven parts of the supplement were published between July 1933 and February 1940, with 30 hand-coloured lithographic plates, with all but two by Lilian Snelling. The grace and accuracy of her plates for the Supplement perfectly compliment Fitch's earlier work. The final two parts to the Supplement, with text by W.B. Turrill, were published by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1960 and 1962. The ten plates were printed from drawings by Margaret Stones (b. 1920 in Melbourne), who had been appointed principal contributing artist to the Botanical Magazine in 1958. 

    His posthumously published Memoirs (1930) includes a chapter describing a visit to Nepal in 1914, a time when Europeans were seldom admitted. He mentions an unnamed companion. It is now known that his companion was the English naturalist Aubyn Trevor-Battye, who took some of the photographs used to illustrate this chapter. 

    He died on 26 November 1922. Monograph of the Genus Lilium