Joseph Dalton Hooker was one of Victorian Britain’s most important men of science; a botanical emperor and tireless traveler. This exhibition charted his incredible life and celebrated the years of hard work that earned him the title ‘The King of Kew’ from Dr Jim Endersby, University of Sussex. Visitors moved through a series of delicate yet vibrant drawings, paintings and prints from his travels, alongside portraits, photographs, journals and even artefacts belonging to Hooker himself. They discovered how Hooker collected plants from all over the world, classifying them, discovering the laws that governed their distribution, and creating a place for botany alongside high status sciences, such as physics.
With his father, William (the first official Director of Kew), Hooker also helped to transform Kew from a rather run-down royal pleasure garden into the world-class scientific establishment it is today.