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Richmond, United Kingdom

Brennan E.,University College London | Harris L.-A.,Urban Development Corporation UDC | Nesbitt M.,Economic Botany Collection
Textile History | Year: 2013

The lace-bark tree (Lagetta lagetto (Sw.) Nash) has a robust inner bark which was used in Jamaica to make utilitarian objects such as whips and baskets, or was teased out into a natural lace to be used in dress and curios. Evidence suggests at least 300 years of lace-bark use for dress and in other areas of daily life by Maroons, an African-Jamaican community living in Cockpit Country, and varied use of less certain scale by Jamaicans outside Cockpit Country. The development of a large-scale souvenir industry in the 1880s, as mass tourism began in Jamaica, probably led to the decline in lace-bark tree populations first reported at about this time. One hundred years later, changing tastes and difficulties in obtaining and marketing lace-bark, have led to the end of its use throughout the island. © Pasold Research Fund Ltd 2013.


Nagata T.,Hosei University | DuVal A.,Yale University | Lack H.W.,Free University of Berlin | Loudon G.,12 Phillimore Place | And 3 more authors.
Economic Botany | Year: 2013

An Unusual Xylotheque with Plant Illustrations from Early Meiji Japan. Two unusual wood collections, reported previously in the collections of the Botanical Museum at Berlin-Dahlem and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, take the form of framed plant illustrations painted on boards made from the wood of the species illustrated. We present new finds of very similar wood collections in the Economic Botany Collection of the Harvard University Herbaria, a private collection in the U.K. (Loudon collection), and at the Koishikawa Botanical Garden of the University of Tokyo. A stamp on the reverse of the boards links all five collections to Chikusai Kato, an artist working at Tokyo University (now the University of Tokyo) in early Meiji Japan, under the direction of the preeminent nineteenth century Japanese botanist Keisuke Ito. New evidence from contemporary historical accounts indicates that more than 100 boards were ordered in June 1878 by Hiroyuki Katō, the first president of Tokyo University, most likely to support the early teaching of Western-influenced botanical science in Japan. However, while the boards had clear value for teaching, especially about useful plants, their unusual fusion of Western and Japanese influences also made them desirable craft objects that were collected and given as gifts during the early Meiji era. © 2013 The New York Botanical Garden.


Cornish C.,Economic Botany Collection | Gasson P.,Jodrell Laboratory | Nesbitt M.,Economic Botany Collection
IAWA Journal | Year: 2014

The wood collection of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (United Kingdom) has its origin in the founding of Kew's Museum of Economic Botany in 1847. In the nineteenth century specimens came from explorers and botanists; from imperial institutions such as the Indian Forest Department, and from international exhibitions (world's fairs). Woods were labelled with their names and properties, creating an educational exhibit aimed particularly at forestry students. In the early twentieth century wood specimens from aristocratic estates formed the basis of a new museum of British Forestry. The foundation of the Jodrell Laboratory at Kew in 1876 led to more research in plant anatomy, but sustained research in wood anatomy and the creation of a major collection of plant anatomy slides dates from the 1930s. Since that time, accessions have come from other wood collections (sometimes the transfer of whole collections), from Kew's botanical expeditions in Brazil and Southeast Asia, and often as institutional or personal gifts from wood anatomists in other countries. The woods now number 34,314 and form part of the Economic Botany Collection, kept in a purpose-built research store and with a collection database available online. As well as enabling plant anatomy research, the woods are increasingly used by historians, and for wood isotope studies, biochemistry etc. © 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

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