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People and their collections

Robert Plot 1640-96 - scientist & antiquary

The Natural History of Stafford-shire (1686)

Plot began work in earnest on Staffordshire in 1679. His principal reason for selecting that county was in honour of his sponsor. Elias Ashmole, founder of The Ashmolean Museum, was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire.By early 1681, Plot had travelled all over Staffordshire and prepared an accurate map. He had received extensive support and co-operation from local landowners. The book was progressing well, the illustrations were in hand, publication was imminent, and there were many illustrious subscribers, including Sir Christopher Wren. The chapter layout was similar to that for The Natural History of Oxford-shire, although the content was treated in more detail. This detailed research led to delay, a delay extended by Plot's appointments to the Ashmolean Museum as Keeper and to the Chair of Chemistry. The book was finally published in April 1686.

Plot's description of contemporary pottery-manufacture in Burslem, North Staffordshire is of particular interest, and is given in full, with commentary in: Plot and pottery (2) - (9).

He also described two customs which still take place in Staffordshire, namely: well dressing and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance (Plot 1686 p 318 para 89 and p 434 para 66).

From 1973 reprint of The Natural History of Staffordshire (1686) From 1973 reprint of The Natural History of Staffordshire (1686)

  From 1973 reprint of The Natural History of Staffordshire (1686)

The Natural History of Oxford-shire Robert Plot: case study The Ashmolean's original collections
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