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Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer
by Pat Griggs and Jim Endersby

Joseph Hooker courtesy Kew Publishing Joseph Hooker Botanical Trailblazer is a compelling account of Joseph Hooker as a plant collector extraordinaire. Joseph Hooker was one of the creators of the modern scientist – medical graduate, botanist, plant collector and adventurer– who circled the globe, discovering, describing, naming or introducing over 12,000 plants that have changed the face of our gardens and landscape.

It combines art, biography, exploration and history and includes coverage of Hooker’s last great expedition to the USA. An introduction is by Jim Endersby, leading authority and author of best-seller biography on Hooker.

A confidante of Charles Darwin, he made his first plant collecting expedition to Antarctica in 1837, an epic undertaking that took him to the ends of the known world, collecting and identifying hundreds of plants. Following a major expedition to the Himalayas and India and the publication of his Himalayan Journals and Rhododendrons of Sikkim Himalaya, illustrated from Hooker’s own sketches by the botanical artist Walter Hood Fitch, Hooker’s reputation was assured. He was appointed Assistant Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1855 and followed in his father’s footsteps as Director in 1865.

1877 saw Hooker’s great expedition to the Western United States, undertaken with his friend the leading American botanist Asa Gray, with Hooker eventually taking back over 1,000 specimens to Kew.

Extensively and beautifully illustrated from the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Joseph Hooker Botanical Trailblazer takes the reader on an extraordinary voyage with one of the world’s greatest botanists, highlighting his relationships with family, travelling companions, friends and colleagues who influenced his life and botanical ideas.

The exhibition Joseph Hooker - naturalist, traveller and more runs until 9th April 2012 in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Author Pat Griggs joined Kew in 1988 as a science writer and now works in the Conservation and Specialist Training team. Among the exhibitions at Kew and Wakehurst Place she has researched and written are ‘Plants +People’ (on Kew’s Economic Botany Collection) and those at the Millennium Seed Bank and Marianne North Gallery.

Author Jim Endersby is a senior lecturer in the History Department at the University of Sussex where he teaches the history of nineteenth and twentieth century science, with a particular emphasis on natural history and biology. His book Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the practices of Victorian science, published in May 2008, was shortlisted for the international History of Science Society's Pfizer Suzanne J. Levinson Prize. His first book, A Guinea Pig's History of Biology, won the Royal Society of Literature's Jerwood Prize.

This book will interest Joseph Hooker enthusiasts, natural history and science historians, art historians, and visitors to Kew Gardens and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.

Publication Details

Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer
Authors: Pat Griggs and Jim Endersby
Imprint: Kew Publishing; paperback
64 pp; 80 colour images
Publication date: 12 November 2011
North American publication date: January 2012
Price: £10.00 / $17.00
ISBN: 978 1 84246 469 4
Order online at Kew Books
To learn more about Kew visit Kew

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