During our visit to the Lund Botanical Garden we came across a small exhibition at the far end of one of the tropical greenhouses. The display was part of Lund’s 350 years celebration and was dedicated to the selection of plants found in the coffin of former Bishop of Lund, Peder Winstrup.
“Botan’s summer exhibition in 2017 is about the plants found in Bishop Peder Winstrup’s chest.
Bishop Peder Winstrup was buried in 1680 in the cathedral of Lund. With the coffin there was a large amount of plant material as a filling in mattress and pillow.
The Botanical Gardens show an exhibition of pictures on Winstrup’s coffin and the plant removers found. You will also have a guided tour around the garden where we will tell about the 17th century plants and about the species that were found in the coffin.”
We found this fascinating enough but then the next day, as we passed the Lund Historical Museum deliberating as to whether to go in or not (only a time consideration), we saw the two posters on the wall and decided that it was an exhibition we could not miss.
It turns out that Peder Winstrup was a polymath of the first order. At the Botanical Garden we were surprised at the amount and variety of plant material that had survived in recognisable form in his coffin but didn’t quite realise the significance of the man, with whom they had been buried for centuries, until we read his story and saw surviving artefacts from his life in the Lund Historical Museum.
Peder Winstrup was a Bishop in Lund for 41 years and an enterprising man with high ambitions.
He was captured in this painting by David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl: the so-called ‘father of Swedish painting’. This ‘famous’ painting of Charles X’s coronation at Uppsala Cathedral in 1675 shows all the Swedish bishops including Winstrup standing second from the left.
He was a true renaissance person. He became a doctor of theology, professor of physics and philosophy, chaplain to the Danish king and architect.
He wrote and published books. He spent 19 years at various schools and universities.
In 1631 he published a collection of his poems ‘Epigrammata’ and in 1666 and 1671 his major theological work ‘Pandectarum’. In between times he wrote “about everything under the sun, from archeological reflections to ecclesiastical funeral speeches.” He set up his own printing press. He was a major book collector and on his death his library had 2,989 volumes. Most of the books were theological but his interests covered many other subjects including history and law.
Inside the Exhibition
Winstrup’s Coat of Arms
Winstrup’s Bishop’s Cope
And it just happens that I have just received the gift, fresh off the press, of an English version of the story of Bishop Winstrup. I’m looking forward to reading more about this little-known, highly educated and cultured man of the pre-Enlightenment era.