loading...
Advanced Search

Palace of Palms: Tropical Dreams and the Making of Kew

$17.99

$17.99

‘Teltscher is a remarkable new historian . . . wholly original.’ William Dalrymple

Daringly innovative when it opened in 1848, the Palm House in Kew Gardens remains one of the most beautiful glass buildings in the world today.

Seemingly weightless, vast and yet light, the Palm House floats free from architectural convention, at once monumental and ethereal. From a distance, the crowns of the palms within are silhouetted in the central dome; close to, banana leaves thrust themselves against the glass. To enter it is to enter a tropical fantasy. The body is assaulted by heat, light, and the smell of damp vegetation.

In Palace of Palms, Kate Teltscher tells the extraordinary story of its creation and of the Victorians’ obsession with the palms that filled it. It is a story of breathtaking ambition, of scientific discovery and, crucially, of the remarkable men whose vision it was. The Palm House was commissioned by the charismatic first Director of Kew, Sir William Hooker, designed by the audacious Irish engineer, Richard Turner, and managed by Kew’s forthright curator, John Smith, who battled with boilers and floods to ensure the survival of the rare and wondrous plants it housed.

Book Information

  • ISBN: 9781760982270
  • Format: eBook
  • Pub Date: 14/07/2020
  • Category: Humanities / Social & cultural history
    C 1800 To C 1900
    Humanities / British & Irish history
    Mathematics & science / Botany & plant sciences
    Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900
  • Imprint: Picador
  • Price: $17.99

‘Teltscher is a remarkable new historian . . . wholly original.’ William Dalrymple

Daringly innovative when it opened in 1848, the Palm House in Kew Gardens remains one of the most beautiful glass buildings in the world today.

Seemingly weightless, vast and yet light, the Palm House floats free from architectural convention, at once monumental and ethereal. From a distance, the crowns of the palms within are silhouetted in the central dome; close to, banana leaves thrust themselves against the glass. To enter it is to enter a tropical fantasy. The body is assaulted by heat, light, and the smell of damp vegetation.

In Palace of Palms, Kate Teltscher tells the extraordinary story of its creation and of the Victorians’ obsession with the palms that filled it. It is a story of breathtaking ambition, of scientific discovery and, crucially, of the remarkable men whose vision it was. The Palm House was commissioned by the charismatic first Director of Kew, Sir William Hooker, designed by the audacious Irish engineer, Richard Turner, and managed by Kew’s forthright curator, John Smith, who battled with boilers and floods to ensure the survival of the rare and wondrous plants it housed.

Author Information

Kate Teltscher is a Reader in English Literature at the University of Roehampton and Visiting Researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. As a cultural historian, her research has focused on colonial contact between Britain and Asia and she is the author of two acclaimed books, India Inscribed: European and British Writing on India, 1600-1800 and The High Road to China: George Bogle, the Panchen Lama and the First British Expedition to Tibet, which was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography. She lives in south-west London with her family.

OTHER BOOKS BY THE AUTHOR

SEE ALL WORKS BY THE AUTHOR >