The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh celebrates 350th anniversary with new licensing programme

Published on: 16th March 2020

The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh is celebrating its 350th anniversary this year with the unveiling of two new licensing partners in Caithness Glass and Flame Tree Publishing.

RBGE was established in 1670 as a physic garden near the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The purpose of the garden was to supply fresh plants for medical prescriptions and to help teach medical botany to students. Almost 20 years later, in 1699, it received a royal warrant.

Over the years many intrepid botanists introduced exotic plants from all over the world and innovative techniques into the gardens. Moving to its present site in Inverleith in 1823, RGBE  is one of the world’s leading botanical gardens and today delivers world-leading plant science and conservation programmes and cares for large archives of botanical art as well four gardens in Scotland.

In this anniversary year, RGBE is hosting a programme of exhibitions and events, and has kickstarted an ambitious plan to rebuild its existing glasshouses and create a new one under its Edingburgh Biomes project – one which aims to secure the Garden’s work for future generations.

RGBE’s licensing programme is focused on using its archive and environmental message to work with companies that reflect its brand values. Royalties from products sold help to directly fund and support the work RGBE does to develop its collections to maximise their value as a research, education, conservation and heritage resource.

Inspired by the 350th anniversary, Caithness Glass will produce a range of collectable artglass  featuring a ‘Water lily – Nymphaea’, ‘Blue Poppy – Meconopsis’ ‘Rhodoendron Ferrugineum’ and ‘Ferns’. 

All of these plants have a special connection to the gardens.

Caithness Glass was founded in 1961 and is now a world leading producer of  paperweights and artglass. Each piece is a unique work of art and hand crafted to the highest standards by skilled makers.

Jacqueline McCulloch, area sales manager of Caithness Glass, said: “Caithness is delighted to be working with RGBE in its anniversary year. The first in a series of planned items launched at Spring Fair were received very well with many orders taken – we are confident that this will be an excellent collaboration for years to come.”

Meanwhile, Flame Tree Publishing works with many prestigious museums and galleries creating published content under license including books calendars and greetings cards. For its RGBE 2021 calendar – which is on sale now – Flame Tree is publishing botanical imagery by the victorian artist Charlotte Cowan, discovered in the RGBE archives.

Frances Bodiam, managing director of Flame Tree Publishing, said:Looking through the archives at the RGBE was a revelation and we were thrilled to unearth the work of Charlotte Cowan. There are many other wonderful images to discover and we look forward to working with RGBE in the future.”

Helena Lawrence, head of retail and brand licensing at RGBE, added: “In our anniversary year, signing these two licenses emphasises how much our brand values resonate with licensees. We are very pleased to be working with Caithness and Flame Tree and also to launch our new style guide which will show how our wonderful collections can inspire new product.

“Further licenses are already in the pipeline which will showcase our collections.”


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