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History Gallery

Choose from 231 images in our History collection.


Matilda Smith, botanical artist Featured History Image

Matilda Smith, botanical artist

Matilda Smith, Joseph Hooker's second cousin, began training as a botanical artist in 1877, at the age of 23, and remained in Kew's employ for 45 years, producing more than 2300 drawings for Curtis Botanical Magazine. She became the Civil Service's first payrolled botanical artist. In 1916 she became president of the Kew Guild and in 1921 was accepted as an associate of the Linnean Society, only the second woman to receive this honour. Hooker's second cousin, began training as a botanical artist in 1877, at the age of 23, and remained in Kew's employ for 45 years, producing more than 2300 drawings for Curtis Botanical Magazine. She became the Civil Service's first payrolled botanical artist. In 1916 she became president of the Kew Guild and in 1921 was accepted as an associate of the Linnean Society, only the second woman to receive this honour

© RBG KEW

William Dallimore Featured History Image

William Dallimore

William Dallimore (1871-1959), known to his colleagues as "good old Dallimore" was a well-liked and long serving member of staff at RBG Kew for more than 45 years. He joined Kew as a student gardener in 1891, aged 20, and worked in the Palm House, the tropical Propagating Pits and the Arboretum, of which he became foreman (now termed curator) in 1901. This undated photograph shows him as a young man, possibly in his student days, carrying tree-pruning equipment. He later became Keeper of the Museums, established the Wood Museum and supervised the development of the National Pinetum at Bedgebury. He was regarded as one of the leading authorities on trees and shrubs in the UK

© RBG KEW

The Kew Gardens Question Featured History Image

The Kew Gardens Question

The Kew Gardens Question. This political cartoon was published in 1878 as part of the ongoing debate as to whether the public should be allowed into the gardens in the mornings, before 1pm. Officially, only botanist and botanical artists were allowed morning access, with the Director's permission. The Kew Gardens Public Rights Defence Association was set up and successfully campaigned against this. The author of the article accompanying this cartoon smuggled himself into a morning session at the Gardens and claimed that those eminent botanists inside were mostly fast asleep in garden chairs and other gentlemen were "engaged in testing the effects of cigar smoke on open-air evergreens."

© RBG KEW