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Portraits Gallery

Available as Framed Prints, Photos, Wall Art and Gift Items

Choose from 77 images in our Portraits collection.


Featured Portraits Image

Robert Fortune

Robert Fortune (1812-1880) born in Berwickshire, Scotland, was a botanist and plant-hunter best known for smuggling tea plants out of China at the behest of the East India Company. Following the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, Fortune was awarded the position of the Society's Collector in China, visiting the region on four occasions, remaining there for two or three years each time. In 1846, he published his journals as 'Three Years' Wanderings in the Northern Provinces of China'. In 1848, he was tasked by the East India Company with collecting tea plants to establish plantations in India, breaking the Chinese monopoly. Disguising himself as a Chinese merchant, he travelled to the remote Fujian, Guangdong, and Jiangsu provinces, regions rarely explored by Westerners, beyond the permissible day's journey from the agreed European treaty ports. The ruling Chinese government had outlawed the purchase of tea plants, but Fortune was able to coordinate the shipment of more than 20, 000 plants and seedlings, in Wardian cases, to the Himalayas, effectively initiating the tea industry in India

© RBG KEW

Featured Portraits Image

Portrait of Sir William Jackson Hooker

Portrait of Sir William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) by Spiridione Gambardella.Painted circa November 1842. Classmark:BO 001.RBG Kew Art and Artefacts Collection. Oil painting: 275mm x 327mm. Printed text on verso of canvas reads: Prepared by Charles Roberson, 51 Long Acre London. Also inscribed in an unknown hand on verso: From this portrait the likeness in the Linnean Society was made Hooker, William Jackson, Sir (1785-1865). Letters in the Kew archives between Hooker and Francis Boott (an American physician and botanist who lived and worked in London) tell the story behind the creation of this painting [Archive ref: DC 63 f.55];[Archive ref: DC 63 f.42];[Archive ref: DC 63 f.39];[Archive ref: DC 63 f.38]

© RBG Kew

Featured Portraits Image

Stella Ross Craig, botanical artist

Stella Ross-Craig, born in 1906, received an early induction into plant life from her father, a botanist, who taught his young daughter to identify wild flowers. At 18 she enrolled in Thanet Art School and attended evening classes in botany. In 1929 she began contributing to Curtis's Botanical magazine and went on to submit more than 300 illustrations over the next 50 years. Her virtuosity for working in black and white is most effectively displayed in what is probably her most exceptional work "Drawings of British Plants". Produced between 1948 and 1973 it includes all native species excluding grasses and sedges, comprising 1316 plates in 31 parts

© RBG KEW