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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.

Sheila Mannes-Abbott - a botanical life

The Illustrations Team invites you to visit the Library, Art and Archives at Kew to view a small retrospective display of the work of the botanical artist Sheila Mannes-Abbott, FLS FSBA (1939-2014).
Photo of some specimens collected by Lowe

Botanising beyond belief

The Reverend Richard Thomas Lowe was an intrepid botanist who contributed to Darwin's theories. A new display in Kew's Reading Room profiles his life and work.
Photo of book covers for Virginia Woolf's Kew Gardens

Virginia Woolf’s Kew Gardens

Virginia Woolf's short story Kew Gardens has received much acclaim since it was first published in 1919 and is still popular today, with a new edition released last year.

The great reindeer move

Jess Smith finds out how Kew's knowledge of mosses and lichens helped to introduce 300 Lapland reindeer into northern Canada, over 100 years ago.

Celebrating David Livingstone's Bicentenary

To celebrate the bicentenary of African explorer David Livingstone, the Archives team reveal his connection to Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and how you can see more of his letters online.

Strange articles of trade

The letters of 19th century naturalist and botanist, James Motley, in Kew's Directors' Correspondence archive tell the story of his journey through the Singapore Straits to reach Sumatra. Read about his fascinating encounters and observations of island culture.

The history of working women at Kew

In celebration of International Women's Day, Michele blogs about the employment of women at Kew. The first women gardeners were appointed in 1896.

Early 20th century plant hunting in Taiwan

Find out about the experiences in Taiwan of botanical collector William Robert Price through the letters he sent back to Kew Gardens at the turn of the last century.

Latin American lonely hearts

Find out about lonely hearts from Latin America in the Directors' Correspondence Archive Collection.

Kew's Library celebrates the Olympics

A special Olympic-themed display has just been completed in the Library Reading Room.

Flowers rare and wonderful

Julia Buckley from the Illustrations team looks at the work of Australian artist Ellis Rowan and the incredible life she led in her quest to document plants.

Cataloguing the papers of T.A. Sprague

Archives trainee Miriam Hopkinson talks about cataloguing T. A. Sprague’s papers and the insights they provide into colonial attitudes at the turn of the twentieth century.
Photograph of letter from Hooker to Balfour

Cataloguing the Annals of Botany archive

Archiving the early history of the oldest general plant science journal, Annals of Botany, founded in the late 19th century.
Display in Library

A taste of honey: bees at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Has the buzz about The Hive got you interested in bees? Then why not take a look at some of the bee-related materials in Kew’s library, illustrations and archives collections?

Explore Your Archive!

To celebrate the launch of the nationwide Explore Your Archive scheme, one of Kew's archivists highlights a treasure from Kew's past.

The self-taught naturalist - Alfred Russel Wallace and Kew

Our library trainee, Marc, blogs about the display he and Elisabeth Thurlow have curated on Alfred Russel Wallace, and looks at some of the connections between this eminent naturalist and Kew

Conserving botanical paintings - upcoming demonstrations in the Marianne North Gallery

Read about the work of the Marianne North conservators and how you can come and see a demonstration by the team.

Adventure and discovery around the world with the plant hunters

Plant hunters frequently travelled across the world to discover new plants for science. Discover some of their adventures here with stories from Kew's Archives.

Curse of the bamboo flower

A letter in the Directors' Correspondence archive describes how the deadly prediction of an old Chinese proverb about bamboo flowering came true.

Letters from India: some extracts from Joseph Hooker's historic correspondence.

As we prepare to launch the Joseph Hooker Correspondence Project online, Virginia Mills selects extracts from the letters of this renowned 19th century botanist and one-time Director of Kew Gardens describing his pioneering exploration of India and the Himalayas.