In the Footsteps of Joseph Dalton Hooker: A Sikkim adventure

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A wonderful hardback celebrating an amazing adventure by one of history’s greatest scientists, Joseph Hooker.

In 1847 Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) embarked on an expedition to Sikkim in the eastern Himalaya, a region where he would discover a huge number of botanical treasures previously unknown to the West. A scientist of breath-taking ability, Hooker would go on to become one of the greatest botanists and explorers of the 19th century and is perhaps the greatest of the lauded Directors of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


In this fascinating travelogue, author Seamus O’Brien retraces Hooker’s footsteps in Sikkim, bringing alive the adventure, dangers and discoveries that Hooker and his companions experienced in the mid-19th century. Seamus describes how his drive for this expedition came from a yearning to see in the wild the plant discoveries made famous by Hooker, who described the region as ‘a perfect microcosm of the Himalaya.’ Following in Hooker’s footsteps, the author describes how these places compare to the descriptions made by Hooker 170 years previously, and how in many ways how little Sikkim has changed over the course of time.


Hooker was a highly skilled geographer and cartographer, and in Sikkim he created the first comprehensive map of the kingdom, highlighting mountain passes that would be of enormous strategic value in the decades to come. Some of these maps are reproduced in the book along with Hooker’s original sketches of the region and plants, as well as illustrated throughout with stunning photographs by the author.


This is a wonderful celebration of one of the greatest adventures by one of history’s greatest scientists, and ideal for anyone with an interest in the flora and history of the region.


Part biography, part travelogue, the book brings the Himalaya to life for the armchair traveller. Mary Keen, garden designer and author


My goodness, this is an extraordinarily good book! Paddy Tobin, An Irish Gardener


...the reader is transported from subtropical gorges to snow-covered mountain tops, experiencing extraordinary moments alongside both travellers. Matt Biggs, The Garden


This book is a really fascinating read, providing us with a wonderful celebration of one of the greatest adventures by one of history’s greatest botanical scientists. Reckless Gardener


 


Seamus O’Brien is Ireland’s best-known plantsman and has travelled extensively across the world to study plants in their native habitats. He received his horticultural training at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, in Dublin, and also holds an International Diploma in Botanic Gardens Management from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He has grown plants since childhood and has wide-ranging interests, though plants from warm-temperate and temperate areas of the world are his primary focus. He manages the National Botanic Gardens, Kilmacurragh, in County Wicklow, an eighteenth century estate long famed for its historic collection of rare and exotic plants. He is the author of In the Footsteps of Augustine Henry (Antique Collectors Club, 2011) and was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland’s Gold Medal of Honour in 2018.

 

Author: Seamus O'Brien
320pp. Over 500 colour photographs, 62 b/w photographs, 4 maps. 288 x 238 mm. Hardback with jacket
ISBN 978 1 84246 656 8
Kew Publishing, 2018


Type: Books