Sowerby, John Edward (DNB00)

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SOWERBY, JOHN EDWARD (1825–1870), botanical draughtsman, born in Lambeth on 17 Jan. 1825, was eldest son, by his wife Judith, daughter of John Hindsley, of Charles Edward Sowerby (1795–1842), an associate of the Linnean Society, who brought out the smaller (second) edition of ‘English Botany’ by his father, James Sowerby [q. v.] John inherited a taste for botanical drawing, and in 1841 produced his first work—the plates for his father Charles Edward Sowerby's ‘Illustrated Catalogue of British Plants.’ His life was thenceforth mainly spent in illustrating botanical works, in collaboration with Charles Johnson (1791–1880) [q. v.], and Charles Pierpoint Johnson, who contributed the text. His only independent work was ‘An Illustrated Key to the Natural Orders of British Wild Flowers,’ 8vo, London, 1865. He died on 28 Jan. 1870 at Lavender Hill, Clapham. He married on 10 Feb. 1853 Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Roger and Ann Dewhurst of Preston, Lancashire. She survived him, and, in recognition of the scientific value of his work, was granted a civil list pension. The chief works that Sowerby illustrated were: 1. ‘The Ferns of Great Britain … Descriptions … by C. Johnson,’ 8vo, London, 1855. 2. ‘The Fern Allies [a supplement to the preceding] … Descriptions … by C. Johnson,’ 8vo, London, 1856. 3. ‘British Poisonous Plants,’ by C. Johnson (the twenty-eight plates were copies from ‘English Botany’), 8vo, London, 1856. 4. ‘The Grasses of Great Britain … Described … by C. Johnson,’ 8vo, London, 1857–61. 5. ‘Wild Flowers worth Notice,’ by Mrs. Lankester, 8vo, London, 1861; another edit. 1871. 6. ‘British Wild Flowers … Described … by C. P. Johnson,’ 8vo, London, 1858–60; another edit. in 1863. 7. ‘The Useful Plants of Great Britain … Described … by C. P. Johnson,’ 8vo, London, 1861 [–62]. 8. ‘English Botany,’ 3rd edit. and supplement, 8vo, London, 1863–1886. 9. ‘Rust, Smut, Miidew, and Mould … by M. C. Cooke,’ 8vo, London, 1865; another edit. 1878.

[Information kindly supplied by his son, E. H. Sowerby; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Cat.]

B. B. W.