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University of Dundee Archive Services

Spring Flowers

Illustrations of Scottish Flora, chiefly of Forfarshire and Fifeshire; written, compiled and illustrated by David Robert Robertson, Dundee (1912-1913, 1914), from the University of Dundee Archive Services Kinnear Collection (MS 103).

David Robert Robertson (1870-1949) was a Dundee jute merchant, botanist, antiquarian and mountaineer. He was a keen churchman with a great knowledge of the Highlands and a talent for sketching. While his ‘Commonplace Book’ is entitled Illustrations of Scottish Flora chiefly of Forfarshire and Fifeshire, it comprehends a great deal more, as well as some material into 1914.

The book consists mainly of Robertson’s transcripts of poems, articles, and miscellaneous writings, watercolours of local flora and pen and ink drawings of local places of natural, historic and other interest mainly in the Dundee area reaching back towards the Sidlaws and Glamis but also extending south across the Tay, for example to Balmerino, Tentsmuir and Strathmiglo. 

The natural history subjects treated, articles and illustrations, include bees, birds, butterflies, flowers, insects of other varieties, mice, snowfalls and shipwrecks. There are five sizeable researched articles with related sketches and other materials on the following Scottish authors and naturalists: William A. Baillie, George Don, William Gardiner, Thomas Ormond and William Robertson. In addition, Robertson wrote to several naturalists, writers and poets who sent contributions especially relating to nature, sometimes in exchange for his sketches and some of this correspondence is included in the collection.