Director of Dutch East India Trading Company
Today is the birthday of the wealthy Dutch banker and a director of the Dutch East India Company George Clifford III.
Clifford loved gardens and had a passion for plants and plant collecting. His work with the Dutch East India Company had made him quite wealthy, and he could afford to purchase the latest plants discovered from around the world in the early 1700s.
Clifford invited a young Swedish naturalist to come and stay at his estate. Over two years from 1736 to 1738, Carl Linnaeus helped Clifford with his plant inventory, and he cataloged his vast herbarium. Clifford’s estate gave Linnaeus a treasure trove of botanical specimens, which became the subjects of a book - his early Botanical Masterpiece called Hortus Cliffortianus. The book is essentially an inventory of Clifford's plant collection.
Today Clifford's herbarium is housed at the National History Museum in London.