Wrexham Council homepage


Dr Drinkwater's Excellent Botanical Compendium

Welcome to Dr Drinkwater's Excellent Botanical Compendium

Dr Harry Drinkwater was born in Northwich, Cheshire and came to Wrexham to work as a doctor in 1890. He lived in the town until his death in 1925.

From his student days, Dr Drinkwater was interested in field botany and enjoyed painting. He started collecting and drawing plants after his first wife died. Almost all the plants in his drawings were collected in North Wales. Many were collected during his journeys to see his patients in the countryside around Wrexham.

He drew the plants on grey green paper using gouache - watercolour mixed with Chinese white to make the colours bright and opaque. He tried to draw the plants as soon as possible after collecting them. However, his job did interrupt and some drawings were left unfinished when he was called out in an emergency.

His aim was a complete set of drawings of the plants around Wrexham. He completed nearly 500 drawings between 1903 -1915. In 1912 he displayed 200 of his plant portraits at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham. The exhibition led to interest in his work and he eventually donated his drawings to the National Museum of Wales.

The National Museums & Galleries of Wales continue to care for Dr Drinkwater's plant illustrations. A selection of his paintings can be seen below. These works are loving portraits rather than scientific illustrations. Together they make an ideal guide to the flora of Wrexham.

Sharing Treasures

'Dr Drinkwater's Excellent Botanical Compendium' was the first exhibition organised jointly by Wrexham County Borough Museum and the National Museums and Galleries of Wales as part of the 'Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan - Sharing Treasures' scheme.

'Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan - Sharing Treasures' is an innovative scheme funded by the Welsh Assembly Government through the Council of Museums in Wales. The scheme aims to bring the treasures of Wales to people across Wales through collaborative working between the National Museums and Galleries of Wales and its partners.

These images are used under licence from the National Museums & Galleries of Wales (Kay Kays, Licensing Officer, tel: 02920 573280).