Cabinet 06 - Lapland

Travels With his passport and a letter of recommendation from the Royal Society of Science in his pocket, Linnaeus started his Lapland expedition on 'Friday, 12 May 1732 at 11 o'clock'. It lasted about 10 months and he covered about 3,000 miles. His purpose, according to his diary, was to investigate 'the three kingdoms of Nature there.' He was twenty-five years old, eager and meticulous in recording what he encountered. His observations on this first trip (he later travelled to Öland and Gotland, West Gothland, and Skåne) formed the basis of his future development of the binomial classification system. Travels is a collation of extracts from his travel diaries.

Carl Linnaeus, Travels. London: Paul Elek, 1979. Science QH 43.5 T83 1979

Lapp Dress Through his travels, Linnaeus developed an admiration for the Lapps - their way of life and, in particular, their clothing. He found their clothing to be more practical than tight-fitting Swedish clothing. It is reported that Linnaeus was so taken with Lapp (Saami) clothing that, upon his return, he could be seen wearing Lapp costume around Uppsala and even courted his wife in his ensemble. His Lapp costume comprised articles of clothing and artefacts that were gifted throughout his Lapland travels. One such gift, possibly depicted in this engraving, was a Lapp woman's cap gifted by Lars Vallman (Blunt). Appropriately, the first volume of The Naturalist's Library includes an engraved portrait of Linnaeus, presumably based on a 1737 portrait by Martin Hoffman.

'Linnaeus in his Lapland [Saami] costume', in Sir William Jardine, 'The Natural History of Humming-birds.' Vol. I. [Second reprint] The Naturalist's Library. Edinburgh: W. H. Lizars, and Stirling and Kenney, [and others], 1834. DeB Sb 1833 N O1

Linne I Lapland Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) was born the eldest son of parish priest, and amateur botanist, Nils Ingermarsson Linnaeus and Christina Linnaea. The family name 'Linnaeus' was chosen by Nils as a requirement for enrolling at university, and was based on the Swedish for lime tree (lind) in honour of a large lime tree that grew on their land. The family name was also made famous, but perhaps a little less so, by Linnaeus's brother Samuel, who became an expert on bees. Although expected to follow his father into the priesthood, Linnaeus showed a keen interest in medicine and botany. His father encouraged his scientific studies and supported his Lapland adventure. Linné i Lappland is a book of diary extracts, in Swedish, from Linnaeus's Lapland travels. The frontispiece on display is from his Flora Lapponica (1737), which depicts him in Lapp clothing.

Linné i Lappland. Utdrag ur Carl Linnaeus dagbok från resan till Lappland 1732. Stockholm: Forum, 1969 (facsimile). Leith QH 43.5 LR39

Racoon In 1746/7, Crown Prince Adolf Fredrik gave Linnaeus a raccoon (Procyon lotor), known as Sjupp, to describe. It can be concluded, from the sense of familiarity in his description, that Linnaeus became fond of the animal. In a paper published for the Royal Academy of Science in 1747 he described Sjupp as '...tremendously obstinate. If anyone led him on a rope and tugged at it, he would immediately lie down and throw his arms and legs about defiantly...' and noted Sjupp's like of '...eggs, almonds, raisins, sugared cakes, sugar and fruit of every kind...' and his dislike of '...anything with vinegar on it, or sauerkraut, or raw or boiled fish' (Blunt, pp151-152).

Linnaeus's raccoon, Sjupp, [photograph]. With kind permission from the Linnean Society of London.

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