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Series BLT 2 - Thomas Blaikie correspondence

Part of Thomas Blaikie collection

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Thomas Blaikie correspondence


  • 1791 - 1890-9-19 (Creation)

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Green vellum file with tapes and a handwritten title of ‘Claims upon the French Government by Thos. Blaikie’, containing 17 handwritten letters and notes by and to Blaikie.

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Name of creator

Blaikie, Thomas, 1751-1838, gardener (1751-1838)

Biographical history

Thomas Blaikie was born in 1751 in Corstorphine, the son of a market gardener. It is suggested he may have been a student gardener at RBGE and possibly then worked at Kew, the Hammersmith nursery and Upton House in East Ham for Dr John Fothergill. He was engaged jointly by Dr Fothergill and Dr William Pitcairn to undertake a plant collecting trip in the Swiss Alps from April to December 1775. In September 1776 James Lee of the Hammersmith Nursery engaged Blaikie to provide plants for the Comte de Lauraguais and he was subsequently employed to work on the Comte’s garden in Normandy. From 1778 he was employed in the gardens at Bagatelle by the Comte D’Artois, the youngest brother of Louis XVI and future Charles X. He also worked at St Leu, Monceau and Le Raincy for the Duc de Chartres (who later became Duc D’Orleans and then Philippe Égalité) and undertook a number of private commissions. It is also thought that he was involved in making alterations to the gardens at Malmaison.

Blaikie is credited with introducing the English style of gardening and British gardeners to France, where his method of grafting came to be known as ‘graffe Blaikie’. He died at his house on the rue de Vignes in Paris in 1838. His diaries covering the period 1775 to 1792 were published in 1931, entitled ‘Diary of a Scotch Gardener at the French Court at the end of the Eighteenth Century’.

Name of creator

Lee, James, 1754-1824, gardener (1754-1824)

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Scope and content

Green vellum file, annotated ‘Claims upon the French Government by Thos. Blaikie’, containing 17 handwritten letters and notes by and to Blaikie, mainly in relation to losses incurred during the French Revolution. These include correspondence with the Office of Commissioners for Claims on France, James Lee at the Hammersmith nursery and the Foreign Office. The papers date from 1791 to 1890. (Box 1)

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Open for consultation by appointment with the archivist.

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  • English
  • French

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