Sibthorp in a doctoral robe
28 October 1758|
|Died||8 February 1796
Bath, Somerset, England
|Alma mater||Lincoln College, Oxford
University of Edinburgh
University of Montpellier
He graduated from Lincoln College, Oxford in 1777, and then studied medicine at the Universities of Edinburgh and Montpellier. In 1784 he succeeded his father to the Sherardian chair. Leaving his professional duties to a deputy, he left England for Göttingen and Vienna, in preparation for a botanical tour of Greece (1786) and Cyprus (1787).
Returning to England at the end of the following year, he took part in the foundation of the Linnean Society in 1788, and set to work on a Flora of Oxfordshire, which was published in 1794 as Flora Oxoniensis. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in Mar 1788.
His will bequeathed his books on natural history and agriculture to the University of Oxford, and also founded Oxford's Sibthorpian Professorship of Rural Economy (subsequently titled the Sibthorpian Professorship of Plant Science). He directed that his endowment should first be applied to the publication of his Flora Graeca and Florae Graecae Prodromus, for which, however, he had done little beyond collecting some three thousand species and providing the plates. The task of preparing the works was undertaken by Sir J.E. Smith, who issued the two volumes of the Prodromus in 1806 and 1813, and six volumes of the Flora Graeca between 1806 and 1828. The seventh appeared in 1830, after Smith's death, and the remaining three were produced by John Lindley between 1833 and 1840. The work's first edition ran to a mere thirty copies and featured 966 colour plates; a supplementary volume depicting wild flowers of Corfu was painted for Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford, and founder of the Ionian Academy, by G. Scola (or Scala), a talented botanical illustrator.