Journal Article

  • Hidden beauties: Using an orchid collection to provide an initial analysis of the Henry Leopold Foster Guermonprez Herbarium
    Taylor, C. A., Lock, J. E., Gostling, N. J.
    Journal of Natural Science Collections, Volume 11, pages 26 - 37

    In the early 1970’s a large natural history collection from Bognor Regis Museum was transferred to Portsmouth Museums. Within it was a collection, estimated at between 60,000 – 80,000 specimens, mainly from West Sussex, amassed by Henry Leopold Foster Guermonprez. During his lifetime Guermonprez was well known in Bognor Regis where he lived but has since faded into relative obscurity, and aside from occasional references, his work remains under-recorded in the Sussex biological record. Accompanying the collection was a large archive of correspondence and over 3000 watercolours painted in the main by Guermonprez and his sister. A few of the watercolours are cited in ‘Wild Orchids of Sussex’ (Lang, 2001), although it appears that the herbarium specimens had not been consulted as several Guermonprez records for rarer species are missing. As one of the few areas of the collection to have been cited, Guermonprez’s orchid specimens, watercolours and related correspondence were consulted to make a preliminary assessment of the quality of his botanical skills and knowledge to determine whether these could be applied across the herbarium.

    Keywords: Guermonprez, West Sussex, orchid, herbarium, museum, Portsmouth, natural history