Your letter <1> of the 3d is just arrived & as letters are so long coming from Geneva I answer it immediately – the greatest news I have is that John <2> is arrived & going to stay with me a week or two before returning to England – he seems to have seen everything in Egypt & Syria & has brought me seed of the Dead sea apple & flowers by which it appears to be an Asclepias instead of Solanum – His description of the deserts is much more delightful than I had imagined. Asiatic deserts seem to be preferable to African. Only think of finding chalk & flint full of Alcyonites in Ammon & Moab.
I have difficulty in believing G. <3> utriculosa of Campoformio to be the same as that of Prato fiorito. G. baldenis is like a single flower of amarella, much larger – a very pretty plant. What a pity you delayed your journey till so late – what could there be in London. I proclaim your intended botanic garden to everybody – how is Lacock going on pray cultivate all autumnal flowers – I wish two or three we have here were sure livers in England – the Cassias & Lantanas, Parkinsonia &c which now enliven the gardens – With plenty of Belladonna, & Guernsey lilies Pancratiums, Scilla, Crocus, Mandragora & Colchicums, Cyclamen, Plumbago, Chamæcistus gentians, & a few compositæ, you have a decent shew for Autumn – The price of Wallis <4> picture which I paid for you was forty pounds – I hope many patrons of the arts will see it at Lacock – I sent in your box several cultivated seeds to be tried – I sent the other day a parcel of seeds by courier to you – Gussones <5> work is not to be had – he is in Sicily & all the copies I believe. I suppose Willdenow <6> got his Corfu plants from Sieber.
I am sure I shewed you lots of Melamp. cristatum at Florence. All the botanists I ask of, disavow Cyc. linearifolium. There seem to be 5 species 3 Europ. 2. Asiatic & no more John says Lotus & Papyrus are nearly extinct in the Nile. The cotton there is the tree cotton of the tropics & not the common herbaceous of Turkey & the south of Europe.
I think Johns descriptions would make you long to make a tour in the East. He met Palin <7> whom you remember at Florence, who read off hieroglyphics (in his way) as if he was reading out of the bible. The Lansdownes <8> go to Munich, Milan, Florence, Genoa, Nice, & home Write to me & tell me your plans
W F S
Monsr Henry F. Talbot
1. Letter not located.
2. John George Charles Fox Strangways (1803–1859), MP.
4. Probably George Augustus Wallis (1770-1847), Scottish born painter resident in Florence who also was an art dealer and served as a representative of art dealers. He copied a Madonna by Correggio for WHFT for £40. [See Doc. No: 01615].
5. Giovanni Gussone (1787–1866), botanist. The Floræ Siculæ Prodromus was published in Naples, 1827–1828, the Flora Sicula itself not till 1829.
6. Karl Ludwig Willdenow (1765–1812), botanist.
7. Probably Nils Gustaf Palin (1765–1842), Swedish orientalist and diplomat.
8. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780-1863), MP, WHFT's uncle; and his wife, Louisa Emma, née Fox Strangways, Marchioness of Lansdowne (1785-1851); Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria, 1837-1838; WHFT's aunt.