Gilbert White’s House and Gardens has announced some exciting new acquisitions to add to the museum’s collection.
Treasured items belonging to the family of pioneering naturalist Gilbert White have finally been returned to his home in Selborne.
Gilbert White’s House and Gardens successfully bid for the collection that was sold via Bonhams auction house in March – and now the star object in the collection, a silver salver, is on display for the first time at the museum.
Made in 1746 by John Robinson II in London, the salver is engraved with the arms of Gilbert White’s paternal grandmother Rebecca Luckin, and would have been seen or used by Gilbert White on a daily basis.
Collections manager Kimberley James said: “The salver is important because it belonged to Rebecca Luckin, who is the only grandparent Gilbert White would have had a relationship with, as the others would have either died before his birth or when he was small. Rebecca lived with him and would have helped raise him. It’s lovely to be able to have something of hers back in their old home.”
With its small, clawed feet, the salver would have been used either for decoration, serving glasses at table, or presenting letters and visiting cards.
Another star object among the newly-acquired items is an author’s copy of the first ever biography of Gilbert White written by one of his brother’s descendants. This copy of Gilbert White’s Life and Letters was owned by the author Rashleigh Holt-White and included notes made by Holt-White and contains illustrations not featured in the final published edition.
Other treasures in the collection include miniatures of members from the extended White family and some beautiful 19th-century sketch and scrapbooks and a receipt in Gilbert White’s own hand.
Gilbert White’s House and Gardens tells the story of three explorers of the natural world in its galleries – pioneering 18th-century naturalist Gilbert White; Captain Lawrence Oates of the final Scott Antarctic expedition of 1911-1912, and Frank Oates, a Victorian explorer of Central America and Africa.