Wallich and Indian Natural History

As part of the World Collections Programme, the Wallich and Indian Natural History project aimed to reunite the dispersed collections of eminent 19th century Danish botanist Nathaniel Wallich (1786–1854).

Project collaborators reunited historically and scientifically significant drawings and plant specimens with the correspondence and illustrations of Nathaniel Wallich.

The CAHR team worked in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the British Library, the National Archives of India and the Calcutta Botanic Gardens, where Wallich was Superintendent for the East India Company from 1817 to 1846.

Project outcomes

  • Raised the profile of the Wallich collections and stimulated academic interest, including a three-month residency for a scholar of the history of science.
  • Created a new digital research resource of international significance (hosted by Kew).
  • Conducted vital conservation assessments and commenced essential conservation work.
  • Encouraged closer working relationships between the three partner organisations as well as partners in India.
  • Established significant new international contacts.

In addition, a review of the south Asian natural history drawings held at the Natural History Museum, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the British Library was conducted for the first time. 

This review generated new data about the scale and interconnectivity of this vast visual resource, and will be a valuable tool for future research projects.

International conference 6–7 December, 2011

The project culminated in a two-day interdisciplinary conference: Wallich and Indian natural history: Collection dispersal and the cultivation of knowledge.

The conference was held at the Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and celebrated  the collections of Nathaniel Wallich and Indian natural history. 

Find out more about the conference or listen to a series of podcasts below:

Conference details PDF (70.5 KB)

Listen to podcasts

In partnership with
Funded by
  • The World Collections Programme, British Museum

The lectures and discussions from the conference to commemorate Wallich may be downloaded as podcasts from the Backdoor Broadcasting Company.

Listen now

Contact us

For further information about this project, please contact:

Zara Naghizadeh, PhD
Projects Development Manager
Centre for Arts and Humanities Research
Tel: 020 7942 6788