Title: Early New Zealand Botanical Art

Author: F. Bruce Sampson

Publication details: Reed Methuen, 1985, Auckland

Digital publication kindly authorised by: F. Bruce Sampson

Part of: New Zealand Texts Collection

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Early New Zealand Botanical Art

After the voyage

After the voyage

While Joseph Hooker worked on The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage, he made good use of his father's herbarium and library at Kew. In 1845 he lectured in botany at the University of Edinburgh, in place of the gravely ill professor of botany. It had seemed that he might succeed him when Professor Graham died in 1845, but John Balfour got the position. In 1846 Joseph was employed by the Geological Survey, which at the time was under the same administration as Kew, the Department of Woods and Forests. The appointment was for him to describe the British flora, living and fossil, in relation to geology and did not prevent him from continuing with the Antarctic voyage floras as well.

In July 1847 Joseph Hooker became engaged to Frances Henslow. As his father did, so was Joseph to marry the daughter of a botanist, for Frances' father, the Rev. John Henslow, was professor of botany at Cambridge. The engagement was a long one. Joseph left in November 1847 on his botanical explorations of India and did not return until March 1851.

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His travels were financed by the Geological Survey, the Admiralty and a grant from Treasury. His journey in India, especially in the Himalayas, and the large amount of material he collected, made an important contribution not only to botany but also zoology, geology, ethnology, meteorology, geography and cartography. The illustrated and lengthy account of his travels, Himalayan Journals (John Murray, 1854), which ran to several editions, was dedicated to Charles Darwin and has been described as one of the great travel books. One of the horticultural benefits of his journey was the discovery of many new species of Rhododendron, seeds of which were sent to Kew. They included the now widely cultivated species R. dalhousiae, R. hodgsonii and R. thomsonii. The Rhododendrons of SikkimHimalaya (1849-51) began to appear, edited by William Hooker, before Joseph returned to England. The plates, based on Joseph's drawings, were "worked up" by Walter Fitch. A few months after his return, Joseph and Frances were married, in August 1851, and in January 1853 their first child, William Henslow Hooker, was born. For a time they existed on grants for arranging the Indian collections, then in May 1855 Joseph was appointed assistant director to his father at Kew.