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Cultivating commerce: cultures of botany in Britain and France, c. 1760-1815

Research output: Book/ReportBook



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Sarah Easterby-Smith rewrites the histories of botany and horticulture from the perspectives of plant merchants who sold botanical specimens in the decades around 1800. These merchants were not professional botanists, nor were they the social equals of refined amateurs of botany. Nevertheless, they participated in Enlightenment scholarly networks, acting as intermediaries who communicated information and specimens. Thanks to their practical expertise, they also became sources of new knowledge in their own right. Cultivating Commerce argues that these merchants made essential contributions to botanical history, although their relatively humble status means that their contributions have received little sustained attention to date. Exploring how the expert nurseryman emerged as a new social figure in Britain and France, and examining what happened to the elitist, masculine culture of amateur botany when confronted by expanding public participation, Easterby-Smith sheds fresh light on the evolution of transnational Enlightenment networks during the Age of Revolutions.


Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages252
ISBN (Electronic)9781316411339
ISBN (Print)9781107126848
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2017

Publication series

NameScience in history

    Research areas

  • Botany, History of Science, France , Britain, Connoisseurship, Gender, Transnational History, Cultural History, Social History, Eighteenth Century, Enlightenment

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ID: 183860330