Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) was a tireless traveller and plant collector, a founder of modern botanical classification and a close friend of Charles Darwin. Kew Gardens was at the heart of Hooker’s career and he helped add thousands of specimens to its collections.
Spend an evening in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens celebrating the life and legacy of Joseph Hooker. As well as learning about his intrepid plant-hunting adventures through the gallery's extensive collections, you'll get the chance to meet the man himself and talk to him about his amazing discoveries. Don't forget to wish him a very happy birthday!
Unique, inspiring and fun, Kew After Hours are for over 18s only, giving you the chance to discover Kew Gardens after dark. After Hours events are always popular, so tickets are sold in time slots of 6pm, 6.30pm and 7pm.
What to expect:
Access to the exhibitions at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art and the Marianne North Gallery is included in the price of your After Hours ticket. Current exhibitions:
Joseph Hooker: Putting plants in their place
British artists in the Shirley Sherwood Collection
Exhibition tours: Introducing Joseph Hooker - Kew's botanical trailblazer
Tours start from the foyer of the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 8.30pm
20 people maximum per tour on a first-come basis
A tour around the 'Joseph Hooker: putting plants in their place' exhibition, with Maria Devaney, Galleries and Exhibitions Leader. Understand why Hooker was important to Kew, how he made his name in the world of Victorian science and his lasting legacy as a botanical trailblazer. The tour will highlight some of the key images and objects from Kew’s collections that tell us about Joseph Hooker’s life and achievements.
Joseph Hooker reads his letters
Ten minute readings at 6.15pm, 7.15pm, 8.15pm, 9pm
Joseph Hooker was a prolific letter writer. The Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project, hosted by Kew, is conserving, digitising, transcribing and making available online Hooker’s personal and scientific correspondence. Listen to Hooker read some of his letters aloud.
Capturing Joseph Hooker
Half hour sittings at 6.30pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm
In celebration of his own great draftsmanship, Joseph Hooker will pose for you to draw his pencil portrait. Capture a likeness of Charles Darwin's scientific confidant and Kew’s most illustrious Director.
Drop-in all evening
Masumi Yamanaka - Kew Resident Artist
Kew Resident Artist, Masumi Yamanaka, will reveal her new painting of Rhododendron thomsonii painted especially for Hooker’s bicentenary and demonstrate some simple illustration techniques that you can try in your own botanical art.
Cam Sharp Jones - Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project
Cam Sharp Jones will talk about her work conserving, digitising and transcribing the personal and scientific correspondence of Joseph Hooker. The Project allows visitors to examine Joseph Hooker artefacts - including a lifetime of letters, hand-drawn maps, plant specimens, scientific instruments, battered travel notebooks and lively sketches of plants, people and places.
Lynn Parker - Kew’s Illustrations & Archives Curator
Learn about Joseph Hooker’s relationship with botanical illustrator, Walter Hood Fitch, also celebrating his bicentenary this year. Fitch made many botanical illustrations for Hooker, which were shown in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, Hooker’s Himalayan Journals, and Illustrations of Himalayan Plants.
Drop-in all evening
Make your own Joseph Hooker inspired crafts, including an adventure postcard, a botanical badge created with reproduction images from Kew's archives and a birthday message.
Food and drink
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a selection of snacks will be available to purchase with cash or card in the galleries.