Edward Browne, Valvasor’s English Contemporary in Slovenian Territories in the Year 1669

Written by Janez Šumrada, 1989


This paper is based upon the materials kept by the Royal Society Archives and by the Department of Manuscripts of the British Library in London. It concerns the travels through the Slovene provinces in 1669 by a Fellow of the Royal Society, Edward Browne, a son of the eminent Sir Thomas Browne of Norwich. Browne’s travel diary with his account of the Bleiberg and Idrija mines, the description of Lake Cerknica, as well as his journey from the Kanal valley (Valcanale) to Villach are also presented here. It was this description of Lake Cerknica, published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1669, along with his account of the mine at Idrija, which made a considerable impact on the scientific career of the Carniolan polymath.

Towards the end of 1685, Valvasor acquainted himself with the Latin Translation of the Philosophical Transactions for the years from 1665 to1669, which had been published in Lepizig. Since he found Browne’s descriptions of Lake Cerknica rather inadequate and superficial, he therefore prepared an extensive account on the subject himself and submitted it in Latin to the Secretary of the Royal Society. On the strength of this treatise, the Royal Society elected Valvasor as a Fellow in December 1687.