Seedling, Bud, Sprout: Cultivating Imperial Subjects in Victorian Gardening Books for Children
Wed 11/29/2023 • 2PM - 4PM PST
Charles E. Young Research Library, Distinctive Collections Classroom, A-Level
Speaker and 2023 Karmiole Fellow Lindsay Wells, PhD
Join UCLA Library in the NEW Distinctive Collections Classroom for a presentation from 2023 Karmiole Fellow, Dr. Lindsay Wells, and featuring materials from Library Special Collections.
Children’s literature about flowers and gardens constitutes an understudied branch of the Victorian horticultural press, yet it importantly demonstrates how nineteenth-century Britons were conditioned from infancy to perceive and interpret ornamental plants from around the world. From Africa and Asia to Australia and the Americas, many of the plants featured in gardening books for children at this time hailed from different corners of the British empire. Often filled with colorful illustrations, these texts demonstrate how botanical imagery was mobilized across different print genres in the nineteenth century to reinforce the imperialist claim that collecting foreign flora was a British prerogative.
Focusing on the entwined histories of art, plant hunting, and garden writing, this talk will explore how assumptions about empire and national identity were embedded within Victorian children's books about horticulture.