James Edmund Harting Exhibition

The monastery archives and library team has recently installed its latest pop up exhibition in the Abbey Visitor Centre focusing on the collections of James Harting.

Harting (1841-1928) was educated at Downside from 1854-60 and became a renowned ornithologist and naturalist. Downside holds his material as it was donated to us on his death and the collections include hundreds of documents and many books in the library. 

Included in the documents are numerous beautiful watercolours of various birds, plants and other wildlife, many of them drawn by Harting himself. There is also correspondence with other well known naturalists of the day including Sir Joseph Hooker who was great friends with Charles Darwin and Director of Kew Gardens. 

The exhibition showcases some of the watercolours by Harting and others, as well as other material focusing on nature from the Downside collections. Forming this exhibition has helped the library team to explore our natural history section in the library and discover a lot of material which we are now able to share with the public. 

If you would like a tour of the Downside Archives and Library email us here