Clusius symposium 2018 – The Dawn of Botany: 16th Century Representations of Nature

Wednesday March 14th, Klein Auditorium, Leiden University Academy Building, Rapenburg 73, Leiden

The sessions will take place in the Academiegebouw in Leiden, between 10.00 and ca. 17.00, the venue will open at 9.30. Registration is free.

Please register by sending an email to Gerda van Uffelen, secretary of the Clusius Foundation,


Programme – time schedule

9.30 – 10.00 welcome

10.00 – 10.30 welcome by Adriaan van der Staay, introduction by Eric Jorink

10.30 – 11.05 Hans-Walter Lack – The Codex Fuchs

11.05 – 11.35 break

11.35 – 12.10 Anastasia Stefanaki – A smiling garden of everlasting flowers: the 16th century En Tibi herbarium

12.10 – 12.45 Abdolbaset Ghorbani – The Syrian Rauwolf herbarium (1574)

12.45 – 13.45 lunch break

13.45 – 14.20 Florike Egmond – Eye for Detail

14.20 – 14.55 Erma Hermens – Depicting Nature: materials and techniques of Early Modern botanical illustration

14.55 – 15.30 Gerda van Uffelen – A living garden from 1594

15.30 – 16.00 break

16.00 – 16.35 Tinde van Andel – Opening Leiden’s treasure rooms

16.35 – 17.00 summing-up by Eric Jorink

17.00 – 18.00 drinks


Abstracts 2018


Eric Jorink – Introduction

In this brief introduction, I will sketch the importance of herbaria as a topic for research. Largely the product of the new eye for detail both artists and students of nature showed in the course of the 16th century, herbaria are at the crossroads of several important developments: the quest for medical knowledge;  experiments in representational techniques; a new fascination for traveling; and the interaction between scientists and local informants, for example. Interestingly enough, herbaria were largely (although not exclusively) assembled by protestants. The religious aspect, often ignored by present-day scholars, was one of the major driving forces behind this new genre. Herbaria should also be seen within the context of the Book of Nature, in which God revealed Himself, I will argue, as well as a more broader fascination for gardening and nature.


Hans-Walter Lack – The Codex Fuchs

The Codex Fuchs is the most important botanical manuscript of the mid-sixteenth century comprising the sum total of materials collected by Leonhart Fuchs (1511 – 1566) for a second edition of his ‘De historia stirpium’ published in Basel in 1542 which, however, never materialized. Comprising 1319 pages of text and 1541 plant illustrations plus introductory matter, this codex has passed through several hands before it was acquired by the Carthusian monastery of Gaming in Lower Austria. There it was rearranged, provided with indices and bound into nine volumes. Following the dissolution of this convent the manuscript passed to the Imperial Library in Vienna, now Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, where it is preserved.  The Codex Fuchs deals with 1317 taxa, almost exclusively vascular plants, many of them of economic, ornamental or medicinal importance. The entries are arranged alphabetically following the Greek plant names. The texts for the individual entries are in Latin and written by Leonhart Fuchs in his microscopic script. The images were prepared by three plant illustrators Heinrich Füllmauer (c. 1500 – c. 1547), Albrecht Meyer (c. 1510 – after 1561) and Jerg Ziegler (after 1500 – c. 1575), and contain Fuchs’s annotations in German and Latin. While Fuchs’s texts are largely compilations with a few original observations intermixed, a considerable number of illustrations are based on living specimens and are new, i.e. have not been published in 1542.  All are pen-and-ink-drawings on paper with water-colours added. However, many other plant illustrations have herbarium specimens, in particular taken from the first three volumes of the Rauwolff herbarium, as basis as well as many woodcuts published in other botanical works, like those by Pier Andrea Matthioli and others.


Anastasia Stefanaki – A smiling garden of everlasting flowers: the 16th century En Tibi herbarium

“En tibi perpetuis ridentem floribus hortum” (Here for you a smiling garden of everlasting flowers) is the inscription of a 16th century Italian herbarium, one of the oldest plant collections still extant today. After a thrilling journey through central and northern Europe, this so-called “En Tibi” herbarium reached Leiden in 1690, where it is kept ever since. It is a large, leather-bound book with golden details including c. 500 dried plant specimens; among them valuable native and exotic herbs and crops such as the oregano, thyme, buckwheat, pistachio, cotton, tomato, hot pepper and eggplant. The inscription suggests that the book was made to be offered as a present, but it is a mystery who made this plant collection and for whom, as there are no name, location, or date given. Now, for the first time, the botanical content of this historic treasure is subjected to thorough study. Through a multi-disciplinary approach including among others identification of the plant specimens included in the book, comparison of the botanical content with other 16th century Italian herbaria, analysis of the handwriting, paper quality and watermark we try to elucidate the origin of the book and identify the mysterious compiler of this magnificent collection.


Abdolbaset Ghorbani – The Syrian Rauwolf herbarium (1574)

Leonhard Rauwolf (1535-1596), the German physician and botanist was the first post-medieval European to travel to the Levant and Mesopotamia during 1573 to 1575. He published a travel on his hazardous journey to the east, which is well studied. However the plants he collected during his travels have hardly been subjected to scientific study. The fourth volume of Rauwolf’s 16th century book herbaria includes plant specimens collected from the area encompassing modern-day Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. The folio herbarium includes perfectly mounted and preserved plant specimens that Rauwolf has collected during his journey, plants that were interesting and exotic for a European botanist.  Each specimen is accompanied with a German text, including a Latin description of the plant at that time, local names and uses. The herbarium book includes 191 specimens representing 183 species belonging to 64 families. It includes Linnaean type specimens as well as historical crop cultivars from the Near East. The Rauwolf herbarium gives a unique insight in the exotic, unknown and useful species of the Near East from the perspective of a 16th century European botanist.


Florike Egmond – Eye for Detail: historical roots of botanical representation between art and science

Many botanical representations of the modern period (photography, drawings and prints) belong to a zone where art and science intersect, and this was no different in the case of botanical drawings of the 16th century. In this presentation we will be looking for the historical roots of some present-day characteristics of botanical representation, jumping back in time – from the 20th to the mid 19th, late 18th, and eventually the 16th century — to inspect the rich variety of botanical drawings of the early modern period. Between c. 1420 and c. 1620 many different formats coexisted of how to represent a plant scientifically. Some occurred in drawings and printed illustrations, others only in drawings and in herbariums, the latter of which appear to have both inspired and followed plant representation in drawings. Some of these formats had a much longer life than others; some crossed over into other media. Some still exist.

Focusing specifically on the fragmented plant image, representations of trees, and zooming techniques in original European (esp. Swiss, German, Italian, Flemish) drawings of the long 16th century, I will try to link visual formats to scientific questions of the pre-Linnaean period.


Erma Hermens – Depicting Nature: materials and techniques of Early Modern botanical illustration

 The treatise Della Miniatura del Signor Valerio Mariani da Pesaro, miniatore del Serenissimo Signor Duca d’Urbino, del Signore Capitano Giorgio Maynwaringe inglese, L’anno del Signore MDCXX, In Padoa [Voss.Ger.Gall.5q, University of Leiden], is one of the very few technical texts on methods to paint and colour botanical illustrations. The text is a compilation of instructions on materials and techniques from both the miniaturist Valerio Mariani (1568-c.1636) as well as Gherardo Cibo (1511-1600), an artist and botanist. Cibo’s recipes derive from a small treatise now in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana and several other short similar texts  preserved in various small libraries and archives in the Marche, presenting both technical instructions for a watercolour technique, as well as recipes for extracting colourants from some of the plants he depicts. Both artists lived and worked the major part of their artistic career in the Duchy of Pesaro and Urbino, as is also demonstrated by recipes using local plants for dye-stuffs, as well as pigment recipes from for example the local majolica industry in Casteldurante for ‘potters’ yellow’, a lead-tin-antimonate yellow.  In this talk I will look at those recipes in connection with works by Cibo, and will discuss the court context in which both Cibo and Mariani circulated. Cibo’s apparent fame as a maker of organic colourants, and his possible connection with the young Mariani. The court environment in Pesaro, with its many artistic workshops, typically represent the connection between art and science in the 2nd half of the 16th century, which created a fertile environment for the production of such art technological texts.


Gerda van Uffelen – A living garden from 1594

The Hortus botanicus Leiden was founded in 1590, but only in 1594 it was planted for the first time. After the University obtained a plot behind the Academy building in order to found a Hortus medicus, it took several years to find a director. The university did not only want to employ a knowledgeable person, but someone with a broad network and a large collection of plants: Carolus Clusius (1526 – 1609). He sent a lot of plant material to Leiden before he arrived here in the autumn of 1593, when he also brought a substantial collection with him. In the spring of 1594 an assistant was appointed to him: Dirck Outgaertsz. Cluyt (1546 – 1598), pharmacist in Delft, who owned a large garden there. Their combined collections were planted in the course of 1594. Cluyt presented a plan and plant lists of the newly planted garden to the University in February 1595, a manuscript that is still kept in the University Library. The lists contain 1585 items, including a wish list of 42 names. The collection consisted of some well-known medicinal plants, but also plenty of exotics, and a large amount of bulbs, Clusius’ lifelong passion. He brought a large collection of tulips, which he kept after supervising the garden for the emperor Maximilian II in Vienna, where he lived for a long period. In retrospect, one may ask whether the University got the garden it aimed for. It turned out to be not a strictly medicinal garden, but a true botanic garden for research, education, and public purposes, one of the first of its kind.


Tinde van Andel – Opening Leiden’s treasure rooms

In the 16th century, the Italian dawn of botany soon spread through Western Europe. Botanists no longer waited in the harbours for ships bringing exotic specimens from faraway countries, they now boarded the merchants ships themselves as ship doctors, apothecaries and explorers. The unknown plants they discovered in Dutch colonies in Sri Lanka, South Africa, Suriname, Brazil and Indonesia were collected, described and depicted. The botanical heritage of this Dawn of Botany is safely locked up in treasure rooms of University libraries and Naturalis. In the past three years, a multidisciplinary group of researchers have digitised several of these precious herbarium collections, books and botanical drawings, identified the plants and analysed the contents. These precious objects range from Latin descriptions of Amazonian fruits and Japanese forgotten vegetables to branches of different Cinnamon trees and medicinal plants from Suriname, Syria and Sri Lanka. By publishing the digitized collections online, we aim to make these treasures accessible for the entire world, and especially the countries of origin. Historic plant collections, whether preserved as drawings, dried branches, baskets or pieces of bark in a glass jar, are not only interesting objects for studying changes in plant knowledge and use over time. They also connect us to our ancestors, whether they were the exploring botanists, the traders of the VOC and WIC, the consumers of exotic products or the local people in tropical countries, whose hard, but not always voluntary work formed the basis of the Dutch prosperity for centuries.


Clusiuslezingen 2015

Op 29 mei 2015 organiseerde de Clusiusstichting een symposium met als titel ‘Anders Tuinieren’, samen met Prof. G.A. Persoon van het Instituut voor Culturele Antropologie / Ontwikkelingssociologie (Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen)

Clusiuslezingen Programmaboekje 2015

De Clusiuslezingen hebben als thema de tuin als raakvlak van cultuur en natuur. Daarbij worden achterliggende vragen uit de geschiedenis van wetenschap, kunst en in brede zin cultuur belicht. Deze terreinen vertoonden in de tijd van Clusius een sterke samenhang.

Door het organiseren van lezingen wil de Clusiusstichting de groeiende belangstelling voor de historische en culturele aspecten van de tuin bevorderen en van een wetenschappelijke basis voorzien. Zij streeft daarbij naar een multidisciplinaire aanpak, waarin historici, kunsthistorici, letterkundigen, architecten, sociologen, biologen en tuinbouwkundigen worden betrokken. En voorts allen, die zich voor de tuin in het algemeen interesseren.

De Clusiuslezingen werden voorheen mogelijk gemaakt door bijdragen van verschillende donateurs, zoals de Ir. Abe Bonnema Stichting,  de M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting, het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Zuid-Holland,  de Stichting Isaac Alfred Ailion Foundation,de Hulsewé-Wazniewski Stichting en een anonieme donor.

De lezingen worden eveneens gepubliceerd dankzij de financiële bijdrage van de Ir. Abe Bonnema Stichting.

Hieronder kunt u het programma van de Clusiuslezingen bekijken, vaak door op het jaartal en de titel te klikken.


2012 Chinese Kruiden en Tuinen

Dr. Mei Wang, Leiden – Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: de belangrijke rol van Chinese planten en kruiden in de traditionele Chinese geneeskunst tot vandaag.

Professor Dr. Harm Beukers, Scaliger Institute, Leiden University – Judge Dee as a Forensic Expert: de legendarische magistraat rechter Ti, onsterfelijk gemaakt in de Rechter Ti – misdaadromans, geschreven door sinoloog en diplomaat Robert van Gulik, heeft heel wat zaken opgelost door zijn grote kennis van giftige planten.

Professor Dr. Stephen H. West, School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University; Emeritus Professor of Chinese, University of California, Berkeley – Gardens and Imagination in Ancient China: “Tuinen en Verbeelding in het oude China” gaat over de functie van tuinen en planten in de literatuur van het oude China.

Het symposium wordt voorgezeten door Professor Dr. Willem van Gulik, Oud-directeur van Museum Volkenkunde, Leiden, en emeritus professor van de Universiteit Leiden


2011 Gardens and Society

publicatie: Gardens and Society: Clusiuslezingen 2011. Leiden, Clusiusstichting 2011
ISBN 978-90-71236-74-7

Pieter Baas & Adriaan van der Staay, Preface
Nicolas Robin, Introduction
Robin Lane Fox, The Social Garden
Dawn Sanders, Educational Voices in Botanic Garden History: from Luca Ghini to Lilian Clarke
Michiel den Ruyter, Parks as Exhibitions


2010 De literaire tuin – The Literary Garden

Tuingedichten door Hester Knibbe

De tuin in de literatuur en hoe de literatuur soms ook doordringt in de tuin door Paul Geerts, Belgisch tuinauteur

Tuingedichten door Maria Barnas


2009 Van vuilnis tot natuur – From Garbage to Garden 

publicatie: From Garbage to Garden: Clusiuslezingen 2009. Leiden, Clusiusstichting 2010
ISBN 9789071236709

Pieter Baas, Introduction
Eric Luiten (Technische Universiteit Delft), Park as left-over land
Martin Weyl, The making of the Ariel Sharon Park
Peter and Tilman Latz (Technische Universiteit München), Towards a park for the twenty-first century
Wilfried Ernst (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Botanical aspects of metal-contaminated wastelands and options for phyotremediation


2008 De watertuin

Wybe Kuitert, Landscape architect (Netherlands), Guest Professor University of Art and Design, Kyoto (Japan):
Introduction: Some Thoughts on Water in Landscape Design
John Dixon Hunt, Professor of the History and Theory of Landscape, University of Pennsylvania: The Forms of Water: Some Historical Notes
Michael van Gessel, Tuin- en landschapsarchitect, Amsterdam: De watertuin in het moderne ontwerp

Deze Clusiuslezingen werden mede mogelijk gemaakt door een gift van een anonieme donor, de Ir. Abe Bonnema Stichting en de M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting.


2007 Japanse tuinen: traditie en moderniteit

Prof. Dr. Erik de Jong, Clusiusleerstoel Universiteit Leiden/Universiteit Wageningen: Inleiding
Prof. Dr. Willem van Gulik, Universiteit Leiden: Japanese Garden Tradition
Prof. Dr. Wybe Kuitert, Kyoto University of Art and Design/Research Center for Japanese Garden Art, Kyoto:
Gardening with Cherries in Ancient Japan
Dr. Christian Tschumi, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology: The Modern Japanese Gardens of Shigemori Mirei
o.l.v. Prof. Dr. Willem van Gulik: Discussie

Deze Clusiuslezingen werden mede mogelijk gemaakt door de Stichting Isaac Alfred Ailion Foundation, Leiden.


2006 Een middag met China: landschappen, tuinen, planten

Alison Hardie, Newcastle upon Tyne: Hemel, aarde en de mens: Chinese geloofssystemen en tuintraditie
Johannes Müller, Würzburg: Cultuurlandschappen van China
Roy Lancaster, Eastleigh, Hampshire: Een eeuw Europese plantenjagers in China: 1900-2000

Deze Clusiuslezingen werden mede mogelijk gemaakt door de Hulsewé-Wazniewski Stichting en het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Zuid-Holland.


2005 Plants in Pharaonic Egypt

Dr. Marina Heilmeyer, Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem
Horticulture and Cosmology in Ancient Egypt
Prof. Dr. Sydney Aufrère, CNRS/ Universiteit van Montpellier

Deze Clusiuslezingen werden mede mogelijk gemaakt door de M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting en het Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Zuid-Holland


2001 Hortus: gesloten of open: zichtbaar of onzichtbaar?

Dr Erik de Jong, Amsterdam
Architecture and Nature
Charles Correa, Bombay, India


1997 Theatres of Flowers: The Art and Science of Eighteenth Century Floral Display

Dr Mark Laird, Toronto, Canada
Nieuwe Tuinen, Nieuwe Planten
Piet Oudolf, Hummelo


1996 Het concept natuur in Oost en West

publicatie: ISBN 90-8008070-3-X

Dr Ulrich Libbrecht, Leuven: Het concept Natuur in Oost en West

Dr Stephen Toulmin, Los Angeles: Nature, Style and Rationality


1994 Tulpen in wetenschap en kunst

Dr A. Stork, Botanische Tuin van Genève
Dr M. Impey, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


1990 The Authentic Garden

Tjon Sie Fat & E. de Jong, ed., The Authentic Garden: A Symposium on Gardens. Leiden, Clusius Foundation, 1991. ISBN 90-800807-1-3

Als pdf te downloaden vanaf


De andere uitgaven van de Clusiusstichting kunnen besteld worden bij de Clusius Stichting via
€ 10,- exclusief verzendkosten