Emily Stackhouse was born in Modbury, Devon, the fifth of six children born to the Rev William Stackhouse and his wife Sarah. When her father inherited the family estate of Trehane near Probus, the family moved back to Cornwall where William had been born. From there Emily was to take up her botanical researches and natural history interests, and began to illustrate these.

Her watercolours were employed by the engravers to work the fine woodcuts and steel engravings that SPCK used for the publications of the Rev Charles Alexander Johns, which included Botanical Rambles, Flowers of the Field, Forest Trees of Britain, and A Week at the Lizard.

Her immense talent was largely overlooked in her own day, despite prizes won at the RCPS, and articles published by her in the Journal of the RIC on plant life. The work of this shy, spinster lady of Cornwall has received recent attention through the efforts of the American Fine Art Dealer, Clifford B Evans, and a revival of interest in the writings of the Rev C A Johns. In 2009 her entry in the DNB was accepted for inclusion, and the story of her life was told as part of a larger biography about Johns and his Cornish circle of naturalists, by Deirdre Dare and Melissa HARDIE.

An exhibition of her work is being planned for 1-2 years time.


Botanical illustration, writer

works and access

Evans, Clifford (2008) in A Passion for Nature by D Dare & M Hardie, Patten Press & Hypatia Publications

Illustrations and watercolours:  Stackhouse Collection (Mallett Fine Art, New Bond Street)

Illustrations: A Passion for Nature;

Coloured illustrations: Gertrude Jekyll: The Making of a Garden, An Anthology by Cherry Lewis (2000)



RIC Associate (Lady member)

misc further info

WCAA has digital collection of watercolours


As above in 'Works and access'

Dare, D & Hardie, M (2008) A Passion for Nature, 19th-century naturalism in the circle of Charles Alexander Johns

Hardie (2009) Emily Stackhouse, Dictionary of National Biography (full bibliography)