Yesterday it rained from the moment I got up, to the moment I went to bed. What a miserable rotten day, and August too. However, they say every cloud etc. etc. and so it was yesterday.

I was channel hopping on the TV, desperately looking for something half decent to watch, when I came upon a repeat of one of those antique programmes, which itself was doing a ‘best bits’ from it’s previous shows. Oh good, a repeat of a repeat, just what I needed.

Being the best of a bad job, I stuck with it and was rewarded for my persistence, when one of the participants was hoping to sell a collection of books, an heirloom from his many times great-grandfather William Curtis (1746 – 1799).

I have to say I’d never heard of the chap, but it turns out he was an 18th century botanist, who published some truly amazing natural history illustrations in a series of books and magazines.

Offered for auction were 3 huge volumes and the same number of small books, filled with the most exquisite drawings of plants. I don’t think they were all by Curtis himself, but the quality was out of this world. And some were first editions too.

They realised a substantial amount of money at the auction, which took place in 2007, but I think if William Curtis had been my ancestor, I would have kept them in the family, but hey, who am I to judge?

Anyway today I went in search of William Curtis on the internet. There are many examples of the hand coloured plates from his books. Here are just a few that took my fancy.

WCurtis2    WCurtis3    WCurtis4    WillCurtis

It just made me think about what he was doing, ie. providing interesting information in words and pictures to the general public. In other words an 18th century blogger. The difference between me and him being 250 years of technology and the fact that I can’t draw a straight line!