New Book | Planting the World

Posted in books by Editor on April 28, 2021

From Harper Collins:

Jordan Goodman, Planting the World, Joseph Banks and his Collectors: An Adventurous History of Botany (New York: William Collins, 2021), 560 pages, ISBN : 978-0007578832, $33.

A bold new history of how botany and global plant collecting—centred at Kew Gardens and driven by Joseph Banks—transformed the earth.

Botany was the darling and the powerhouse of the eighteenth century. As European ships ventured across the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, discovery bloomed. Bounties of new plants were brought back, and their arrival meant much more than improved flowerbeds—it offered a new scientific frontier that would transform Europe’s industry, medicine, eating and drinking habits, and even fashion. Joseph Banks was the dynamo for this momentous change. As botanist for James Cook’s great voyage to the South Pacific on the Endeavour, Banks collected plants on a vast scale, armed with the vision—as a child of the Enlightenment—that to travel physically was to advance intellectually. His thinking was as intrepid as Cook’s seafaring: he commissioned radically influential and physically daring expeditions such as those of Francis Masson to the Cape Colony, George Staunton to China, George Caley to Australia, William Bligh to Tahiti and Jamaica, among many others.

Jordan Goodman’s epic history follows these high seas adventurers and their influence in Europe, as well as taking us back to the early years of Kew Gardens, which Banks developed devotedly across the course of his life, transforming it into one of the world’s largest and most diverse botanical gardens. In a rip-roaring global expedition, based on original sources in many languages, Goodman gives a momentous history of how the discoveries made by Banks and his collectors advanced scientific understanding around the world.

Jordan Goodman is Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London. He is the author of The Rattlesnake: A Voyage of Discovery to the Coral Sea, The Devil and Mr Casement, and Paul Robeson: A Watched Man. He has published extensively on the history of medicine and science, and cultural and economic history.

Online Conference | Country House Gardens and Landscapes

Posted in conferences (to attend), online learning by Editor on April 28, 2021

From the conference flyer:

Razored Hedgerows, Planted Trees, and Natural Delights: Country House Gardens and Landscapes
Online, Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates, Maynooth University, 11 May 2021

After the disappointing cancellation of the annual conference in 2020, the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates is pleased to announce the 19th annual Historic Houses Conference, which will be held online (via Zoom) at Maynooth University on 11 May 2021.

Country houses sit in the middle of designed landscapes. Their backdrop, large or small, might be a combination of parkland, pasture, woods, and waterways, as well as formal gardens blazoned with horticultural delights. These natural features complement the built heritage and often share similar stories about their creation, improvement, loss, or recovery. The acres surrounding a mansion house may have shrunk over the centuries, but the terrain itself remains even if in different ownership and used for other purposes today.

This one-day online conference will include papers on a number of houses and gardens, examining their history, survival, and changing fortunes, with papers on Emo Court, Annes Grove, Doneraile, Glin Castle, Brodsworth Hall, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Lambay Castle, Illnacullin, Johnstown Castle, Newbridge, and the Glebe Churchill; as well as presentations on glasshouses, plant collections, and the art of landscape design. The day will conclude with an online forum on the subject of gardens and well-being in the twenty-first century.

Speakers include Sarah Couch, Michael O’Sullivan, Catherine Fitzgerald, Neil Porteous, Hugh Carrigan, Anne O’Donoghue, Kim Wilkie, Alexandre de Vogue, Matthew Jebb, Chris O’Neill, Cathal Dowd Smith, Eleanor Matthews, and Adrian Kelly.

Attendance is free, but places are limited; for details on how to register please contact cshihe@mu.ie.

Doneraile Court (side of the house), near the town of Doneraile in County Cork, Ireland; most of the house dates to the early eighteenth century. After an extensive renovation by the Office of Public Works, the house opened to the public in 2019. The 400 acres of walled parkland are laid out in the style of Capability Brown (Office of Public Works).
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