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SARAH DRAKE 1803-1857
SARAH DRAKE 1803-1857

Sarah Anne Drake was born on July 24, 1803 in Skeyton, Norfolk, England. Her childhood friendship with Anne Lindley and her close relationship to the Lindley family would lead her to become one of the most accomplished botanical artists of all time. As a young woman, Drake studied in Paris, where it is likely she practiced activities expected of her gender, including painting and drawing.

While residing in Acton Green at the home of John and Sarah Lindley, she trained to specialize as a botanical artist. Lindley was a busy man - first Professor of Botany at the University of London, Assistant Secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society, author for the Botanical Register, Ladies’ Botany and several books on orchids, as well as a talented botanical artist. Because of his passion for his subject and his tremendous influence, he can be credited with shaping the science of botany, but he also took the lead in a movement to divide botanical studies into gender specific categories, identifying certain practices as those acceptable for women such as collecting, painting, and tutoring of children, and reserving true research as masculine science. On April 30, 1829, in his inaugural speech as Professor of Botany, he stated “It has been very much the fashion of late years, in this country, to undervalue the importance of this science, and to consider it an amusement for ladies rather than an occupation for the serious thoughts of men,” establishing a divisive agenda that was felt long afterwards.
Sarah Drake : page 1 of 2
    viridiflora by Sarah Drake
From the Missouri Botanical Garden Library.
      giganteum by Sarah Drake
From the Missouri Botanical Garden Library.
Roxburghia viridiflora, an early Drake lithograph from the 1830 Plantae Asiaticae Rariores.
Cymbidium giganteum from John Lindley's Sertum Orchidaceum, 1838.