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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.
Picture of hedges sent to John Lowe
26th July 2017

Yew, Me and Dr. John Lowe: Cataloguing the John Lowe Papers

Francesca Mackenzie shares her week in Archives cataloguing the fascinating papers of John Lowe
Making of Modern Botany' the Joseph Hooker bicentenary conference poster
12th July 2017

Joseph Hooker, 'The Making of Modern Botany' Conference

Virginia Mills, a researcher at Kew, reflects on 'The Making of Modern Botany', the Joseph Hooker bicentenary conference
Joseph Hooker's Antarctic Journal
29th June 2017

Botany on Ice: Joseph Dalton Hooker's Antarctic Journal

As part of Kew’s celebration of the bicentenary of Joseph Dalton Hooker’s birth in 1817, the Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project is pleased to announce that Hooker’s ‘Antarctic Journal’ is now available online via the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Opium cultivation, Company school painting c.1840 India
23rd June 2017

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker – Trailblazing global botanist and explorer exhibition

Our new Reading Room exhibition explores Joseph Hooker's lifelong research into plant diversity and economic botany, as part of the celebrations at Kew to mark the bicentenary of his birth.
Fitch Illustration of the white and pink flowers of the Victoria amazonica
2nd June 2017

Tales from the world of pollination

Francesca Mackenzie looks into the bizarre and fascinating world of pollination.
Plate 1 of Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium depicting pineapple illustration, 1705.
26th May 2017

The woman who made science beautiful

Razwana Akram looks at the story of Maria Sibylla Merian.
Collage of Joseph Hooker's drawings and correspondence
12th May 2017

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker at 200

Kew will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker’s birth this year, with a number of events and also further work on his correspondence. Cam Sharp Jones tells us more about all that is planned.
3rd April 2017

Kew gardener and Panzer ‘ace’ met their fate together in Normandy

James Wearn reveals the long forgotten exploits of former Kew gardener, turned wartime tank driver, John Sutch and his link to Panzer ‘ace’ Michael Wittmann.

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
31st March 2017

Joseph Hooker: Putting plants in their place

A new exhibition at Kew celebrates one of Victorian Britain's most important scientists, Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911).

Title page taken from Hortus Eystettensis colour version
28th February 2017

The Garden of Eichstatt

Razwana Akram shares the fascinating story of the Garden of Eichstätt.

Fitch's completed Victoria regia plate
21st February 2017

Walter Hood Fitch - an 'incomparable botanical artist'

Lynn Parker looks at the story of Walter Hood Fitch (1817-1892), one of the most talented botanical artists of the 19th century.

A section of an illustration of Stanhopea wardii. Original drawing by S.A. Drake for Plate XX in John Lindley's Sertum Orchidaceum.
3rd February 2017

Miss Drake - a skilled illustrator of orchids

In celebration of Kew's Orchids Festival which returns this weekend, Julia Buckley looks at the orchid illustrations of Sarah-Ann Drake, a prolific 19th century artist we know little about.

Sketch of a penguin by Sir Joseph Hooker drawn on the Antarctic voyage
16th December 2016

A plant-hunter's Christmas

Francesca Mackenzie looks at stories from the archives about 'Christmases long, long ago', and discovers some surprising similarities with the festive season today.

Acer palmatum
12th December 2016

Flora Japonica – winter beauty in the Gardens

Japanese plants represented in the Flora Japonica exhibition can be seen growing in the Gardens at both Kew and Wakehurst.

Queen's Beasts outside Palm House
2nd December 2016

The Queen's Beasts

British monarchs have used beasts to symbolise their royal ancestry and family allegiances throughout history. Razwana Akram looks at the mythical beasts found at Kew and their meaning.

William Hooker and a case of mistaken identity
25th November 2016

William Hooker and a case of mistaken identity

Julia Buckley looks at the story of William Hooker, Kew's first official Director, and also William Hooker the illustrator and tries to separate the two.

Marianne North - Distant View of Mount Fujiyama, Japan, and Wistaria
11th November 2016

Flora Japonica: Marianne North’s Japan

To coincide with the Flora Japonica exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, we look to Marianne North’s depictions of Japan, which represent the country as she saw it in 1875.

Photo of a portrait of William Fraser Tolmie
31st October 2016

Science, séances and spiritualism

Warning! Contains material of a spooky nature.
Photograph of the female mandrake in the Ortus Sanitatus, 1485
27th October 2016

Poisonous Plants, Pumpkins and the Paranormal

As Halloween draws closer and the shops are filled with dancing skeletons and miniature pumpkins, Archives Graduate Trainee, Francesca Mackenzie delves into the Library, Art and Archives Collections to find material relevant to the upcoming festivities.
Photo of The Hermitage from An exact plan of the Royal Palace Gardens and Park at Richmond. Roque, John (c.1704-1762). (2013).
14th October 2016

Merlin, hermits and follies: William Kent at Kew

Melissa Candy from Kew's Library team explores the history of Kew's follies and the work of William Kent.