James Bolton (c. 1735 - 1799) - a brief biography

James Bolton, public domain image

The information below is derived from many sources; major reference texts are listed at the foot of the page.

British botanist, nature artist and mycologist James Bolton was natural history artist and mycologist, was baptized on 23 November 1735, and so it is likely that he was born sometime in 1735. His place of birth is not recorded, but it is likely to have been on a farm in Calderdale, Yorkshire. His father, William Bolton, was a weaver, and his older brother Thomas Bolton, who died in 1778, was also a competent naturalist.

James Bolton may have worked as a weaver; however, he was also a very capable self-taught naturalist and wrote and illustrated books on such varied topics as ferns, flowers, and birds.

Major publications

An History of Fungusses growing about Halifax, 4 volumes, produced between 1788 and 1791, covering 231 fungus species. This work is significant not only because it is the first British book devoted to the subjecr of fungi but also because of the outstanding quality of Bolton' colour illustrations.

James Bolton died in Warley, West Riding of Yorkshire, in 1799.

The standard abbreviation Bolton denotes James Bolton in botanical/mycological citations.

Selected Sources:

Ainsworth, Geoffrey C. (1996) Brief Biographies of British Mycologists; British Mycological Society.

John Edmondson (1995) James Bolton of Halifax; Liverpool: National Museums & Galleries.

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

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