Robert Furber

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Robert Furber (1674–1756) was a British horticulturist and author, best known for writing the first seed catalogue produced in England.[1]

Furber was a member of the "English Society of Gardners", a group formed in 1724 to protect the reputations of plant growers by mutually agreeing to names for newly discovered plants. Furber contributed to the group's work, including collaborating on a book documenting the plants discovered and named by the group.[1]

He had a nursery in Kensington in London (near modern Hyde Park Gate/Gloucester Road) from around 1700 until his death. It was taken over by his colleague John Williamson, then others and survived until the 1840s.[2]

March. In: Twelve Months of Flowers, 1730.
(Henry Fletcher produced each of the twelve hand-colored engravings from paintings by Pieter Casteels).

Furber's most notable work was Twelve Months of Flowers, published in 1730. The book was written as a catalog of plants and seeds, and featured twelve detailed engravings of seasonal plants in bloom. Henry Fletcher produced each of the twelve hand-colored engravings from paintings by Pieter Casteels. Each plant was numbered, with a list of the corresponding species names provided. More than 400 different species of plant were featured.[1] The plates were originally sold on a subscription basis for £1 5s in uncolored form, or £2 12s 6d for a colored version.[3] The book was reprinted in 1982.[4]

In 1732, Furber produced a follow-up work entitled Twelve Months of Fruit. Like his previous collection of flowers, Twelve Months of Fruit featured twelve full-color plates with 364 different fruit. Each plate focused on one month, and showed the varieties of fruit that would ripen during that month.[5]

Other works by Furber include a 1732 book entitled The Flower Garden Displayed, a general-purpose book written for a wider audience.[1]

He also had a position as an overseer of the poor in Kensington (St Mary Abbots parish, 1718) and was a churchwarden between 1725–6 and 1736–7.[2]

Personal life[edit]

He married Mary Everton in about 1706 and they had one son, William.[2] He was buried at St Mary Abbots on 1 September 1756.


  1. ^ a b c d Blunt, Wilfrid (1994). The Art of Botanical Illustration. Dover Publications. pp. 134–135. ISBN 0-486-27265-6.
  2. ^ a b c Raphael, Sandra. "Furber, Robert (c.1674–1756)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 September 2015.
  3. ^ Harvey, John (1972). Early Gardening Catalogues. Phillimore. ISBN 85-03-30211-X.
  4. ^ Furber, Robert (1982). Twelve Months of Flowers. Pierpont Morgan Library. ASIN B0006YCFJY.
  5. ^ "The Dietz Press: Robert Furber Fruit Prints". The Dietz Press. Retrieved 2007-11-27.