Sarah Drake

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Sarah A. Drake
Born(1803-07-24)July 24, 1803
DiedJuly 9, 1857(1857-07-09) (aged 53)
United Kingdom
Known forBotanical art

Sarah Anne Drake (1803–1857) was an English botanical illustrator who worked for John Lindley and collaborated with Augusta Innes Withers, Nathaniel Wallich and others.


Sarah Drake was born in Skeyton on July 24, 1803, the same area of Norfolk as the London University botanist John Lindley and went to school with Lindley's sister Anne. As a young woman, she went to Paris, where she probably studied painting as was expected of young women of the day. In 1830 "Ducky" (as she became known) moved into the Lindley home at Acton Green in London. She appears to have had a number of roles in the Lindley home, including that of governess, but eventually took up botanical art, gradually taking over from Lindley the illustration of his botanical publications. She created illustrations for his Sertum Orchidaceae, for example, as well as over 1000 illustrations for the horticultural magazine Edwards's Botanical Register, which Lindley edited from 1829 to 1847. More than 300 of these drawings were of orchids and Lindley named the Western Australian orchid genus Drakaea in her honour.[1][2][3][4]

Drake is perhaps best known for her collaboration with Augusta Withers on the drawings for the monumental Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala by James Bateman, but she also contributed to Lindley's book, Ladies' Botany (1834–1837), Nathaniel Wallich's Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, John Forbes Royle's Illustrations of the botany and other branches of the natural history of the Himalayan Mountains and to The Botany of HMS Sulphur (1836–1842). She did not travel abroad and probably went no further than Kew Gardens, the Lindley home or to Loddiges nursery, which put on a display of orchids especially for her.[2][5][6][7][8]

Drake's career ended when the Botanical Register went out of business in 1847. She returned to Norfolk to care for elderly relatives and moved in with her uncle, Daniel Drake. In 1852 she married John Sutton Hastings, a wealthy farmer. She died on July 9, 1857, putatively from diabetes, but it has been speculated that she may have suffered from cumulative poisoning from her painting materials. In 2000 a memorial plaque commemorating her work was unveiled at the parish church where she is buried.[1][6]

Books and magazines which contained her illustrations[edit]


Lindley named the Western Australian[9] orchid genus, Drakaea, to honour her.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hewson, Helen (1999). Australia: 300 years of botanical illustration. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing. ISBN 0-643-06366-8.
  2. ^ a b Kramer, Jack. Women of Flowers: A Tribute to Victorian Women Illustrators. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1996.
  3. ^ "Women's work - Sarah Drake 1803-1857". Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering and Technology. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  4. ^ Hopper, Stephen D.; Brown, Andrew P. (2007). "A revision of Australia' s hammer orchids (Drakaea: Orchidaceae), with some field data on species-specific sexually deceived wasp pollinators". Australian Systematic Botany. 20 (3): 262–264. doi:10.1071/SB06033.
  5. ^ Schmidt, Alesandra M., and Trudy B. Jacoby. "Herbs to Orchids: Botanical Illustration in the Nineteenth Century". Watkinson Exhibition Catalogs, Paper 3, 1996.
  6. ^ a b Buckley, Julia. "Miss Drake - a skilled illustrator of orchids". Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  7. ^ Pomeroy, Jordana (ed.) (2005). Intrepid women: Victorian artists travel. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 71–72. ISBN 9780754650720.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b "Sarah Anne Drake". The Longham Parish Website. Retrieved 3 November 2017.
  9. ^ Govaerts, R. et. al. (2018) Plants of the world online: Drakaea. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  10. ^ Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, Australian National Herbarium, Biographical Notes: Drake, Sarah Ann (1803 - 1857) Retrieved 27 October 2018.