Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Falconer, John (fl.1547)

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807335Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 18 — Falconer, John (fl.1547)1889Benjamin Daydon Jackson

FALCONER, JOHN (fl. 1547), merchant, appears to have been the first Englishman who possessed a series of dried plants, a method of study first practised by Luca Ghini of Bologna, who also was the earliest public teacher of botany in Europe, and the originator of botanical gardens. From the few scattered records preserved we learn that he travelled on the continent, and from 1540 or 1541 to 1547 he was living at Ferrara, which he left in the last-named year. He was a fellow-pupil of William Turner, the father of English botany, at Bologna, and is mentioned in Turner's ‘Herbal’ several times with great respect on account of his attainments. ‘Maister Falkonner's Boke’ is the earliest mention we have of an herbarium, the indispensable adjunct of the scientific and accurate knowledge of plants.

[Amatus Lusitanus, Enarr. in Dios. Strassburg, 1554; W. Turner's Herbal, 2nd ed. fol. 11 verso; R. Pulteney's Sketches, i. 71, 72; E. H. F. Meyer's Gesch. der Botanik, iv. 240, 270–1.]

B. D. J.