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Distributed for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs

In 1837, Daguerre developed his eponymous process, opening the doors to modern photography. Around the same time, the once-neglected Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, found itself the focus of renewed interest and rapid expansion. The renaissance at Kew and revolution in photography are inextricably linked, as professional photographers and casual tourists alike have been capturing pieces of Kew’s history for more than one hundred years, marking its development one frame at a time. The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs brings together two hundred and fifty of those photographs to tell the tale of these magnificent gardens.

The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs covers the period from 1844 to the 1970s, ending as another advance, color photography, was taking hold. Featuring many rarely seen photographs, the collection provides a fascinating look at the botanical and social history of the gardens. The black-and-white images show a remarkable transformation in the growth and expansion of the gardens. The photographs also illustrate the importance of plants in the British Empire and how Kew became one of the most important botanical institutions in the world. This engrossing book provides a glimpse of British history from the days of vacationing royalty to the great Victorian plant hunters, through two world wars and millions of visitors. 

208 pages | 250 halftones | 11 1/4 x 8 1/4 | © 2013

History: British and Irish History

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"The sleeper hit of the season is The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs. . . . Instead of presenting Kew merely as an obligatory stop on the English tourist itinerary, these photographs reveal the importance of the plants within the gardens and the global importance of Kew itself—through the prism of colonialism, trade, industry, medicine, warfare and even the values of Victorian England."

New York Times

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Constructing Kew

Chapter 2: Kew, the Imperial Garden

Chapter 3: Plant-Hunting for Kew

Chapter 4: Visiting Kew

Chapter 5: Kew behind the Scenes

Chapter 6: Kew at War

Chapter 7: Kew in the Post-War Years



Picture Credits

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