Ray Desmond Kew: A History

ISBN 13: 9781860465291

Kew: A History

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This informative volume traces the extraordinary evolution over more than two centuries of Kew's historic landscape, which began with two private royal gardens and expanded through the work of some of our most distinguished garden designers and architects, resulting in an important range of listed buildings of which thirty-nine have survived. These, together with the latest additions to Kew's architectural heritage, are extensively illustrated and described. As much part of this fascinating landscape are the principal figures in Kew's history - among them Queen Caroline, her son Frederick Prince of Wales, his wife Princess Augusta, and George III; Sir Joseph Banks, who organized the first worldwide plant-collecting expeditions; Sir William Hooker and his son, Sir Joseph, who laid the foundations of the present Botanic Gardens; and successive directors who formulated policy and enabled improvements. Kew also played a pivotal role in the development of the British Empire's natural resources, the introduction of commercial crops to the colonies and the compilation of colonial floras. Its collaboration with overseas botanical gardens, alongside its establishment as an international scientific institution are equally crucial and examined in detail. Whilst previous accounts of Kew have relied almost entirely on printed sources, the present volume makes extensive use of archives which support modern Kew's primary objective: "the better management of the Earth's environment by increasing knowledge and understanding of the plant kingdom".

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About the Author:

Ray Desmond was Chief Librarian and Archivist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and a Deputy Keeper in the British Library. He is an honorary research fellow at Kew Gardens. He has been Chairman of the Garden History Society and President of the Society for the History of Natural History, which awarded him their Founder's Medal in 1994. His books on the history of botany and horticulture include Bibliography of British Gardens (1984), A Celebration of Flowers (1987), The European Discovery of the Indian Flora (1992) and Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists (1994) which won the 1994 McColvin Medal as an outstanding reference book of the year.

Review:

It is impossible to do justice to the comprehensiveness of both the text and copious illustrations of this superbly researched and beautifully produced book. -- Ann Geneva, Financial Times

This is an important book, impeccably researched, superbly written, illustrated and produced. -- Allen Paterson, Country Life

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9781846559372: Kew: A History

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ISBN 10:  1846559375 ISBN 13:  9781846559372
Publisher: The Harvill Press
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