'Rashleigh's Specimens of British Minerals was a major contribution to mineralogical literature, history and illustration. It remains one of the most significant early visual records of minerals, some of which were previously unknown or undescribed.'
Andrea Hart, Library Special Collections Manager
Philip Rashleigh was a keen amateur mineralogist who amassed one of the earliest and finest private collections ever assembled. His comprehensive collection contains extremely rare specimens, including minerals from mines that have since been decommissioned.
Although he knew that accurately representing the sheen and colour of minerals would be a difficult task, Rashleigh saw scientific value in producing illustrations of his specimens. He commissioned Henry Bone and other artists to draw some of his finest specimens in a series of two publications. This was to be the first illustrated book on British minerals, and is still considered one of the finest.
After Rashleigh's death in 1811, the mineral collection changed hands several times and was acquired by the Museum in 1964.