Hortus Cliffortianus

Title page of Hortus Cliffortianus

The Hortus Cliffortianus is a work of early botanical literature published in 1737.

The work was a collaboration between Carl Linnaeus and Georg Dionysius Ehret, financed by George Clifford in 1735-1736. Clifford, a wealthy Amsterdam banker was a keen botanist with a large herbarium and governor of the Dutch East India Company. He had the income to attract the talents of botanists such as Linnaeus and artists like Ehret. Together at the Clifford summer estate Hartecamp, which was located south of Haarlem in Heemstede near Bennebroek, they produced the first scholarly classification of an English garden. The garden at Hartekamp was already quite famous before George Clifford bought the place in 1709. Under his ownership, the number of unusual plants grew exponentially. He had 4 hothouses built to house the many tropical plants that he collected through his business connections from all over the world. He was an important friend and seed supplier for botanist Herman Boerhaave, whose summer home (and garden) at Oud Poelgeest was just a short trip away by trekschuit along the Haarlem-Leiden canal known as the Leidsevaart.

In 1736 George Clifford became famous for growing the first indoor banana tree, and for this reason Linnaeus was eager to work with him.

George Clifford died in 1760 and left the business and property to his sons. The banking house of Clifford under George Clifford Jr. fell in 1772 and the estate Hartekamp went out of the family in 1788. Since then the garden has declined and is currently used as a school campus. After the fall of Clifford & Zn., Clifford's herbarium was acquired by Joseph Banks in 1791 who passed it on to the British Museum of Natural History, where it is published online.


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