Bobart, Jacob

, a German horticulturist, who came to England about the middle of the seventeenth century, was appointed first superintendant of the physic-garden at Oxford, founded in 1632 by Henry earl of Danby. Some writers call him doctor, and some professor of botany, but he was neither, nor was there any professor, properly so called, before Dillenius. The “Catalogus -Plantarum” in this garden, published at Oxford in 1648, 12mo, was drawn up by Bobart, and is a very favourable proof of his zeal and diligence. Under his care and that of his son, the garden at Oxford continued to flourish for many years. The old man, according to Wood, lived in the gardenhouse, and died there Feb. 4, 1679, aged eighty-one. Mr. Granger relates an anecdote that “on rejoicing days old Bobart used to have his beard tagged with silver.” He left two sons, Jacob and Tillemant, who were both employed in the physi-garden. Jacob, who seems to have been a man of some learning, published the second volume of Morison’s “Oxford history of Plants,1699, fol. Of him too, an anecdote is told which implies somewhat of a humourous disposition. He had transformed a dead rat into the feigned figure of a dragon, which imposed upon the learned so far, that “several fine copies of verses were wrote on so rare a subject.” Bobart afterwards owned the cheat but it was preserved for some years, as a master-piece of art. Dr. Pulteney thinks Bobart was alive in 1704; but he appears to have lived considerably longer, as Dr. Abel Evans dedicated “Vertumnus,” a poetical epistle, to him in 1713. A descendant of this family, Tillemant Bobart, is still well known to all who wish for civil treatment and a safe carriage on the road to Oxford. 2


Pulteaey’s Sketches. Nichols’s Poems, voL III. Granger, &c.