Botanical revelation: European encounters with Australian plants before Darwin

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In Botanical revelation, David Mabberley provides the first in-depth analysis of European understanding of Australia's flora before he arrival of Charles Darwin in 1836. Combining science, horticulture, art and economics, this illustrated book -- with many never-before-published images -- reveals the motives and complex networks that led to an international spread of knowledge and the cultivation of hundreds of Australian plants in Europe. The influence on European thinkers Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Alexander von Humbolt of Joseph Banks on Cook's first voyage and Robert Brown on Flinders' is explored, along with Spanish, French, Austrian, German and American botanists, horticulturalists and botanical artists. The exquisite and ground-breaking collaborations between artist Ferdinand Bauer and Robert Brown, and Pierre-Joseph Redoute and the French school, are also fully analysed. Based on the superb Peter Crossing Collection, Botanical revelation documents an important phase in the understanding of Australia's flora, and science more generally. One which laid the groundwork for Darwin's theory of evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW
PublisherNewSouth Publishing
Number of pages372
ISBN (Print)9781742236476, 1742236472
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Botanists
  • Botanical illustration
  • Europe
  • Botany
  • Botanical artists
  • Plants
  • Australia

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