Palace of Palms: Tropical Dreams and the Making of Kew (Hardback)
  • Palace of Palms: Tropical Dreams and the Making of Kew (Hardback)
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Palace of Palms: Tropical Dreams and the Making of Kew (Hardback)

(author)
£25.00
Hardback 320 Pages / Published: 09/07/2020
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'Teltscher is a remarkable new historian . . . wholly original.' William Dalrymple

Daringly innovative when it opened in 1848, the Palm House in Kew Gardens remains one of the most beautiful glass buildings in the world today.

Seemingly weightless, vast and yet light, the Palm House floats free from architectural convention, at once monumental and ethereal. From a distance, the crowns of the palms within are silhouetted in the central dome; close to, banana leaves thrust themselves against the glass. To enter it is to enter a tropical fantasy. The body is assaulted by heat, light, and the smell of damp vegetation.

In Palace of Palms, Kate Teltscher tells the extraordinary story of its creation and of the Victorians' obsession with the palms that filled it. It is a story of breathtaking ambition, of scientific discovery and, crucially, of the remarkable men whose vision it was. The Palm House was commissioned by the charismatic first Director of Kew, Sir William Hooker, designed by the audacious Irish engineer, Richard Turner, and managed by Kew's forthright curator, John Smith, who battled with boilers and floods to ensure the survival of the rare and wondrous plants it housed.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
ISBN: 9781529004854
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 234 x 153 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Put simply, Kew's Palm House is the most important and exquisite glass building in the World. In this finely crafted tale, Kate Teltscher reveals the extraordinary characters, both human and botanical, who brought about this most improbable of architectural miracles. Through the lenses of history, society and politics, we see the Palm House as an ark for the tropical rainforests, an enduring and poignant symbol in today's unprecedented environmental crisis. -- Dr William J. Baker
An impeccably well-researched book, and it is hard to imagine this fascinating story being told with greater sensitivity or skill. -- Noel Malcolm on The High Road to China * Sunday Telegraph *
Teltscher is a remarkable new historian . . . wholly original -- William Dalrymple on The High Road to China
A splendid and fascinating account . . . Teltscher has made remarkable use of her source material, aided by the constantly perceptive and witty tone of Bogle's own writings. -- Patrick French on The High Road to China * Sunday Times *
Kate Teltscher's marvelous new book, The High Road to China, lucidly relates how Britain tried to circumvent trade barriers by opening a back door to China through the mysterious land of Tibet. -- Tristram Stuart on The High Road to China * New York Times *
Thrilling and fascinating . . . Letters, journals and documents are woven into the flowing narrative, which is wonderfully vivid and evocative. -- Jenny Uglow on The High Road to China
A vivid look at a lost world. -- Jonathan Mirskyo on The High Road to China * Spectator Books of the Year *
Fascinating . . . an extraordinary narrative dominated by marvellous characters and told with a rare mixture of scholarly learning and enthusiast's fizz. -- Jan Morris on The High Road to China
Bogle caused a sensation in the Himalayas. When he approached the palace of the ruler of Bhutan, his route was line with spectators all craning to catch sight of this weird, white-faced alien with tight clothes and funning hair . . . Fascinating. -- Hilary Spurling on The High Road to China * Observer *
This fascinating and beautifully written book considers the first contact made between the expanding British Indian empire and the ancient Buddhist civilization of Tibet. It adds a new dimension to studies of British orientalism and eighteenth century understandings of cultural difference. -- Professor C. A. Bayly, University of Cambridge, on The High Road to China
There is no more entertaining or informative account . . . Teltscher's account of Bogle's long stay with the Panchen, based in part on his vivid letters to his sisters, makes this book soar. -- Jonathan Mirsky on The High Road to China * Literary Review *
A wonderful story . . . a fascinating book. -- Bernard Porter on The High Road to China * TLS *
A wonderful book, absolutely compelling . . . I am quite certain that readers will find it irresistible. -- Professor John Carey, University of Oxford, on The High Road to China
What is striking about India Inscribed is Teltscher's close attention to nuance and detail and the care with which she describes paradoxes, complexities and shifts in European accounts of India . . . Historians ought to welcome able works of literary scholarship like this. -- C. A. Bayly on India Inscribed * TLS *
Teltscher's introduction to this new abridged edition is a model of scholarship and readability. -- Neel Mukherjee on Hobson-Jobson * The Times *

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