Brent Elliott

Head Librarian

I was never able to decide whether I belonged in the arts or the sciences; so a library which covered everything from taxonomy to flower arranging suited me exactly

I have worked in the RHS Lindley Library for 37 years now, for 25 of those years as Head Librarian. I came to the Library straight from university; having discovered garden history as a subject, I wanted a job which allowed me to focus on that area.  My remit has expanded, however, and I have written books and articles about garden history, the history of botany, and botanical art – not to mention the history of the RHS.

 I found that the Lindley Library was the best possible place to work. The Canadian school system did not require early specialisation, and I was never able to decide whether I really belonged in the arts or the sciences; so a library which covered botany and taxonomy on the one hand, and garden design and flower arranging on the other, suited me exactly.

Brent's posts and conversations

  • Retrieved from a wreck?

    Was this intriguing pamphlet nearly lost at sea?

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  • Hollywood salads

    A rare gem in the Library is a fun cookery book full of film-star salads, which reads like a Wh

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  • The rise and fall of the Garden History Society

    After fifty glorious years, the Garden History Society is no more

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  • An important 18th-century French provenance

    What prompted Malesherbes' interest in the forestry works of Duhamel du Monceau?

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  • A view into the glasshouse industry

    A commercial catalogue reveals a once-thriving glasshouse enterprise in north London

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  • A murder victim’s copy

    A 17th century translation of a Roman classic has a history of its own...

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  • A barrow-load of history

    If you thought that technical drawings were a modern invention, think again...

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  • Historical hauntings

    Ghostly goings on in the gardens of the French court, recounted in  'An Adventure'

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  • Pest destruction calendar, by the firm of Walter Voss

    The making of charts is a difficult business: how do you relate several different types of data

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