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Library, Art & Archives blog

Browse our blogs to find information about Kew's collections, services and fascinating work that is taking place. You will also meet the Library, Art and Archive staff who will provide regular updates with news from projects they are involved in, treasures they have discovered and exciting new developments planned for the future.
A plate for Sertum Orchidaceum entitled Aerides quinquevulnera by Sarah Anne Drake (1803 - 1857)
26th October 2018

Passionate pioneers: increasing access to botanical artwork by women artists

With the help of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia, USA, Kew has recently embarked on a project to digitise hundreds of unique works of art by women botanical artists. Metadata and Digitisation Officer Joanna Durant sheds some light on these often under-represented botanical pioneers.
Morchella esculenta detail
12th October 2018

Fabulous fungi: the illustrations of Elsie M. Wakefield

As Kew releases the first ever State of the World's Fungi report, Illustrations Curator Lynn Parker delves into a selection of wonderful fungi illustrations currently on display in our Reading Room
Misc report 594 content
5th October 2018

Beneath the Covers: Disbinding a Miscellaneous Report

As the Miscellaneous Reports project gets underway, Book Conservator Aimee Crickmore reveals remedial aspects of their repair and describes treatment of the Natal Miscellaneous volume.
Photo of Misecellaneous Reports book spines
28th September 2018

From locusts and aloes to the bottoms of ships: looking at a Miscellaneous Report

Kew has recently received funding from the Wellcome Trust to catalogue and conserve the Miscellaneous Reports Collection. As the project gets underway, Assistant Archivist Rachael Gardner takes a look at the Natal Miscellaneous volume to showcase the fascinating and diverse material within the Reports.
A folded illustration from Volume 1 of the fungi illustrations
14th September 2018

A museum in paper: fungi illustrations

With Kew’s State of the World’s Fungi Symposium taking place this week, it seems the perfect time to take a look at some of the fungi illustrations held in our collections.
Library and herbarium main gate
17th August 2018

A Walking Tour of the Library Collections

Kew has many collections of materials that comprise the Library facet of the Library, Art and Archives. Heading rapidly towards the end of his year-long tenure, our library graduate trainee has gone for a tour of these collections and taken a camera to record the trip for posterity.
Pagoda and plants and flowers
3rd August 2018

Celebrating the reopening of the Great Pagoda at Kew

In celebration of the reopening of the Great Pagoda after its extensive restoration, our new Reading Room display features materials relating to pagodas, and illustrations of the types of plants that you might expect to find in a traditional Chinese garden.
Botanical Studio stall at Wakehurst Science Festival 2018
27th July 2018

Fun for all the family! Library, Art and Archives at Kew’s Science Festival

Last weekend saw the first appearance of our botanical studio at Kew's Science Festival at Wakehurst. We had lots of activities for everyone to enjoy.
Trinidad botanic garden blog
29th June 2018

Happy 200th birthday to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Trinidad

The Archives team celebrate the bicentenary anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Trinidad and its relationship with Kew.
Kew Guild website
22nd June 2018

Kew Guild

Astrid Purton explores the archives of Kew Guild, an association for current and former Kew staff, held in the Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Economic botany library collection
8th June 2018


A library blog on books about paper might sound like the setup to a cringeworthy librarian joke, but it turns out that paper is a rather important commodity at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Inspired by some recent library acquisitions, Library Graduate Trainee Andy Farquhar goes hunting for paper in the catalogue and stacks.
One of Ellacombe's herbarium specimens
1st June 2018

Exchanges with Bitton: Cataloguing the Ellacombe Family Papers

In this blog post, Archives Graduate Trainee Saffron Mackay discusses her recent cataloguing project researching ‘The Ellacombe Papers’ held in Kew's Archives.
Contemporary view of the Temperate House
25th May 2018

Celebrating the Temperate House: “The Largest Plant House in the World” 1863–1899

To celebrate the restoration and reopening of the Temperate House, Kiri Ross-Jones tells the story of the original construction of the building, which took over forty years, as told through Kew’s archives.
Painting equipment
18th May 2018

The Botanical Eye

On World Botanical Art Day (18 May 2018) we would like to celebrate the achievements of all botanical illustrators, and commend those freelance artists who work at Kew and contribute to its associated scientific publications and monographs.
Document from Kew's archives
4th May 2018

Spotlighting the unique in the Archives

In this blog, Cam Sharp Jones explores some of the unique and interesting items housed in the Archive collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Family fun and garden adventures this Easter - Kew Peter Rabbit image
29th March 2018

Beatrix Potter: Tales from the Archives

With Peter Rabbit coming to Kew and Wakehurst this Easter, Archivist Kiri Ross-Jones explores items in the Archives collection relating to Peter’s creator - the author, illustrator and mycologist, Beatrix Potter.
Cherry blossom and the Palm House
16th March 2018

Sakura Season in the Gardens

In celebration of one of the most spectacular and welcome events in the garden calendar, Library Graduate Trainee Andy Farquhar goes in search of materials relating to the blossom trees that will shortly be exploding into colour. Winter is behind us, the days are slowly lengthening, and Sakura season is about to begin.
The frozen face of Chimborazo at 19,660ft with detail (right) from ‘Excursions near Quito, Ecuador 1831’
23rd February 2018

Francis Hall in South America

Recent re-shelving in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Archives has brought to light two volumes of manuscripts and illustrations of a botanical journey of discovery in South America. In this blog Assistant Archivist Kat Harrington explores the life and work of the author of these volumes - Colonel Francis Hall.
Wolfson rare books room - orchid display
16th February 2018

Orchids Festival: Learn in our Library

Kew is hosting the 23rd annual Orchids Festival and offering a host of fascinating talks, tours and courses as part of this. To celebrate this our new exhibition also has an orchid theme, and includes original illustrations, archive materials and beautiful hand-crafted 3-dimensional orchids.
Damage to Kew Gardens
2nd February 2018

Fire and broken petals: How the Suffragettes made their mark on Kew

In this blog, Archives Graduate Trainee Saffron Mackay delves into Kew’s connection with the Suffragettes in the new Wolfson Display found in the Library, Art & Archives Reading Room. The display celebrates 100 years since women have had the right to vote and Kew’s 23rd Annual Orchid Festival.