GardenDrumJoseph Hooker at Kew Gardens

Joseph Hooker, 19th century botanical emperor, tireless traveller and ‘King of Kew’ is the subject of a new exhibition at Kew Gardens from March to September 2017, featuring botanical illustration, specimens, art and Hooker’s own personal possessions.

Hooker was one of the 20th centuries botanical rock stars. He is well known to plant lovers the world over, as his tireless botanical travelling is recognised in many species epithets**.

He was the first in 1855 to publish in support of Darwin’s theory of evolution, was responsible (while Director of Kew) for sending rubber plants abroad which founded the rubber industries of Sri Lanka and Malaysia and, with George Bentham, published the extraordinary Genera Plantarum from 1862 to 1883. During his lifetime, Hooker described over 12,000 species, more than 3% of the Earth’s known species of flowering plants. During this stellar career he also managed to travel and record plants on islands of the Atlantic, and in southern South America, New Zealand, Tasmania, Western Australia and Sydney, Antarctica, the Himalayan regions of India and Nepal, Lebanon, Morocco, and North America…while also studying fossil records of British plants.

Watercolour by Joseph Hooker of Himalyas

The Hooker exhibition is a collaboration with the University of Sussex, written by Dr Jim Enderby, Reader in History of Science.

Maria Devaney, Galleries and Exhibitions Leader at RBG Kew says;

“It has been an absolute privilege to delve into the remarkable life of Joseph Hooker, with this exhibition revealing both his tireless quest to transform the perception of botany, and his desire to establish Kew Gardens as a place of world-class science. This exhibition is a true testament to Hooker’s insatiable appetite for collecting, his fierce determination to raise the status of botany, and his deep rooted love of Kew.”

Joseph Hooker: Putting plants in their place‘ is in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens in London, UK, from 25 March to 17 September 2017.

[** Arenga hookeriana, Pinanga hookeriana, Eremospatha hookeri, Raphia hookeri, Crinodendron hookeri, Grevillea hookeriana, Sarcococca hookeriana, Vanda hookeriana, Potentilla hookeriana, Salix hookeriana… and many more!]

 

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