W.G.S. Worthington George Smith ( 1835 - 1917)

Worthington George Smith (1835-1917) was an English artist, illustrator, archaeologist, plant pathologist, and mycologist born in London, the son of a civil servant. He received an elementary education at a local school and was then apprenticed to an architect. Smith worked for the architect Sir Horace Jones, becoming an expert draughtsman and a member of the Architectural Association. In 1861, however, he left the profession (having been required to design drains for Sir Horace) and embarked on a second career as a freelance illustrator.

Worthington G. Smith’s particular expertise was in fungi, which he collected, studied, and illustrated. He published extensively, writing over 200 articles and papers, as well as several books. Smith had an interest in natural history and gardening, and gradually developed a reputation as a botanical illustrator. His work appeared in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and in 1869 he became its chief illustrator, retaining this position for the next 40 years. He also contributed illustrations to the Journal of Horticulture and other periodicals. In 1880, he co-authored Illustrations of the British Flora with the noted botanical illustrator Walter Hood Fitch.

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