Frederick Hulme was known as a teacher and an amateur botanist. He was the Professor of Freehand and Geometrical Drawing at King’s College London from 1886. His most famous work was Familiar Wildflowers which was issued in nine volumes.
In 1844 his family moved to London where his father taught and worked as a landscape painter. Not only was Hulme’s father an accomplished landscape painter, but his maternal grandmother had also been a painter of porcelain. Hulme attended South Kensington School of Art, which is now called the Royal College of Art.
Hulme became the drawing master at Marlborough College in 1870 and while there he started work on his most famous work. Familiar Wildflowers was issued in parts as not only did it contain a detailed description of each flower but also its medicinal uses and habitat. The major work was the botanical illustration by Hulme of each flower which was recreated as a colour plate in each volume. In his lifetime, Hulme completed nine volumes which were published at intervals.
Hulme was an amateur botanist, antiquarian and natural historian and in 1869 he was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society. He was drawing master at Marlborough until 1883.
He was the Professor of Freehand and Geometrical Drawing at King’s College London from 1886. Drawing was not part of the standard curriculum at Kings, but as was common in many colleges, students could enroll for an additional course in drawing with Hulme. In the preceding year he had become a lecturer to the Agricultural Association.
Botany seems not to be his only interest as he also published books on heraldry, and on cryptography (Cryptography, the History, Principles, and Practice of Cipher-Writing) – a brief history and an explanation of various techniques of cryptography to his day (end of 19th century).
Hulme died at his home at Kew on 10th April 1909.