Robert James Petre 1713-1742

From Book Owners Online

Robert James PETRE, 8th Baron Petre 1713-1742

Petre's bookplate (British Museum Franks 23406)

Biographical Note

Born at Ingatestone, Essex, son of Robert Petre, 7th baron Petre, who died a few months before his son was born. The family were long-established Roman Catholic aristocracy, and he was educated at home. His main interest in life became horticulture, and the growing of exotic plants, for which he became a celebrated authority during his lifetime. He was friendly with Philip Miller of the Chelsea Physic Garden, and other leading gardeners and botanists of the day, and undertook extensive planting on his estate at Thorndon Hall, Essex, and on those of other noblemen. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1731 and corresponded with Sir Hans Sloane.


Petre will have inherited books from his father, and developed his own library, particularly of gardening and horticultural books. He used an engraved armorial bookplate (Franks 23406), which was re-engraved for the use of his son Robert Edward, 9th Baron. The library remained in the family until the 19th century when it began to be dispersed.