Ehret, Georg Dionysius (DNB00)

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EHRET, GEORG DIONYSIUS (1710–1770), botanic draughtsman, bom at Erfurt 9 Sept. 1710, was the son of Georg Ehret, gardener to the Prince of Baden, Durlach. He received little education, but as a boy began to draw the plants in the fine garden which his father cultivated. Dr. Trew of Nuremberg first made him aware of his talent by buying the first five hundred drawings he had made for four thousand gulden. With this sum in hand he started on his travels, but his store was soon exhausted, until at Basel he had to call his art into play for his support. Having refilled his purse, he journeyed by Montpellier, Lyons, Paris (where he was employed by Bernard de Jussieu), England, and the Netherlands. Here he fell in with Linnæus, who came to live with the Dutch banker Cliffort at Hartecamp, near Haarlem, and Ehret contributed the drawings which illustrated the fine folio published by Linnæus as 'Hortus Cliffortianus,' 1737. Ehret profited by Linnseus's advice to pay more attention to the minute parts of the flower, and they continued on friendly terms until Ehret's death. About 1740 he again came to England, finding among his patrons the Duchess of Portland, Dr. Mead, and Sir Hans Sloane. Among the books he illustrated were Browne's 'Jamaica,' 1756, and Ellis's 'Corallines,' 1755, at that time considered plants. His chief published works were 'Plantæ selectæ,' 1750, ten decades, and 'Plantæ et Papiliones selectæ,' Lond., 1748-1750. He married Susanna Kennett of Glidding, near Hambledon, Sussex, and died at Chelsea 9 Sept. 1770, leaving one son, George Philip, who died October 1786 at Watford, Hertfordshire.

Many of Ehret's drawings came into the possession of Sir Joseph Banks, and are now in the botanical department of the British Museum at Cromwell Road; they bear ample testimony to his free yet accurate draughtsmanship. Some manuscripts of his are also preserved there

The genus Ehretia was so named in compliment by Patrick Browne, and adopted by Linnæus.

[Pulteney's Sketches, ii. 284-93; Nagler's Noues allg.Künstler-Lexikon, iv. 91; Nouv. Biog. Gen. xv. 751; Proc. Linn. Soc. (1883-6), pp. 42-56.]

B. D. J.