Albert Bois de Chesne
Albert Bois de Chesne was born on July 8, 1871, in Trieste, a descendent of a Huguenot family which had moved to Switzerland from France. In Trieste, where he attended secondary school, his professor was Edward Pospichal, a student of the littoral and Istrian floras. Pospichal instilled Bois de Chesne with an enthusiasm for botany and first introduced him to the secrets of the plant world. Pospichal took walks with Blois de Chesne through the Karst and Istria, and took him to the Trenta Valley for the first time, where Albert fell in love with the world beneath Mts Triglav, Stenar, Razor, and Jalovec. After finishing school, Bois de Chesne continued his studies at the College of Forestry in Zürich, where his teacher was the renowned botanist Carl Schroter. But as Albert Bois de Chesne’s father was a wood dealer, he could not not dedicate himself exclusively to botany as he had to assume his father's business. He bought extensive forests in Slavonia (Croatia), which he sold in 1925 and returned to Trieste. Now he could make his long- hidden dream come true. He already had the right to hunt in Trenta, and he complemented it by a purchase of land for a garden. While by car it was not really far from Trieste, he did not want land at a high altitude as it would make access and tending more difficult. Bois de Chesne himself admitted that he knew too little to put in the garden, so he consulted known experts for advice. He was helped by two well-known connoisseurs in the field of high high alpine flora, Henri Correvon and Lino Vaccari. Additionaly, his good friend Dr Julius Kugy was glad to come to his aid with data on the sites of rare plants. On the other side of the border of the time, in Yugoslavia, he was frequently in the company of Franc Juvan, then the gardener at the Botanical Garden in Ljubljana. After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, Bois de Chesne was barred from further access to the garden, so he engaged the painter Marij Sivini, drove with him through the valleys of the western Julian Alps which had remained under Italy, bridged many a gorge, ascended numerous peaks, and everywhere he photographed plants in their natural environment while Sivini painted them. This was the origin of the watercolours and transparencies which Bois de Chesne donated to the city of Trieste, where they are housed in the City Museum. In 1952 the botanist Carlo Lona published an essay in which he described all the transparencies and paintings, and also quoted the sites and ecological characteristics of the plants.
Albert Bois de Chesne died on July 23, 1953, in Trieste.