Crinum lily

Several species of Crinum are used in ayurvedic medicine. Different parts of the plant may be used as a laxative, an anti-inflammatory or to treat burns. However, the hand written note at the bottom of this work suggests this is a cultivated plant and not a native Indian species.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the East India Company controlled much of the Indian subcontinent. Keen to exploit and export valuable natural commodities, the Company set out to record the flora of India and commissioned Indian artists to create detailed botanical illustrations. Many of the plants were known through their use in Ayurvedic medicine. One of the world’s oldest medicinal systems, it has been practised in India for 3,000 years.

Company School style paintings became popular with wealthy Europeans. It was not uncommon for East India Company officials (who were not employed as medics or botanists) to build their own personal collections of paintings depicting Indian flora and fauna. We cannot be sure how local amateur botanist Richard Cresswell came by this collection of 86 Company School works. It is possible Henry Creighton commissioned them during his time as a judge in Calcutta and that on his death the works came back to the UK with his daughter Frances who later married Richard Cresswell.
Accession Loan No.
Simple Name
Full Name
Crinum Sp.
watercolour on paper
Common Name
crinum lily
Production Person Surname
Production Country
Period Classification
George III (1760-1811)
Collection Class
Production Town
Production County
Production Area Region
South Asia
Production Continent
Production Year Low
Production Year High
Inscription / Transcription
HERB. MUS. EXON CRESSWELL COLLECTION 19/1927; Criunm Sp; but does not seem to be Indian - probably from a garden plant; No 16
Family Group

total sheet H 555 mm; total sheet length 390 mm
Created At
2016-10-13 16:49:57
Updated At
2020-01-28 11:43:38

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