Colours of Nature

A fascinating display on the connections between colour, plants and people in our Reading Room.

Detail from a colour sample sheet painted by William Burchell

Date and times

3 June – 6 September 2019

10am – 4pm weekdays only


Library, Art & Archives Reading Room


Free for all

Colour is in all our everyday items. But how do things become coloured, how is colour used and determined - and does it matter?

In botany and mycology, standardised colour charts are vital for the precise identification of plants.

Using material from Kew's extensive Library, Art and Archive collection, along with our fascinating Economic Botany collections, the Colours of Nature display explores the history of colour, and how Kew played a role in producing it. 

Our display features Geranium roots, indigo blocks, books and dye samples, all demonstrating a fusion of art and science.