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228. The Taj Mahal at Agra, North-West India Featured Images Dated Image

228. The Taj Mahal at Agra, North-West India

This magnificent mausoleum was built by the Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Arjamand Benu Begum, who died in 1629. The Taj was finished in 1648. In the foreground Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima, Wilid.), Bougainvillea, Cypresses, and a species of


Agra, Arjamand Benu Begum, Art, Artist, Foreground, India, Landscape, Leaves, Marianne North, Painting, Poinsettia, Rattan Palm, Shah Jahan, Taj Mahal

Gossypium herbaceum, Willd. (Cotton) Featured Images Dated Image

Gossypium herbaceum, Willd. (Cotton)

Watercolour on paper, no date (late 18th, early 19th century. Hand painted copy of an illustration commissioned by William Roxburgh. In his Flora indica Roxburgh mentions that this species and its varieties Dacca, Berar and China, are the most cultivated by the natives in India. Roxburgh reports "'G. herbaceum is in general cultivated all over Bengal and Coromandel. It is reared about Dacca, and furnishes that exceedingly fine cotton wool employed in manufacturing the very delicate, beautiful muslins of that place."

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Robert Fortune Featured Images Dated 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