The College holds an extensive botanical books collection, a large number of which were donated to us almost 250 years ago by the first Scottish born British Prime Minister - John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute. 

The studies of books you can see here begin in the fifteenth century (the earliest was printed before Michaelangelo started painting the Sistine Chapel), and they show the development of botanical knowledge and the gradual improvement in illustration and printing techniques.  As you would expect there are lots of beautiful images of plants; but there are also intriguing insights into social history and wonderful examples of the craftsmanship of Renaissance printers.

To read about these books and their artwork, click on the relevant subject below.