King’s Collectors for Kew by A.E. & T.A.Orchard

King's Collectors for Kew Book CoverJames Bowie and Allan Cunningham Brazil 1814-1816

In 1814, with the close of the Napoleonic Wars, Sir Joseph Banks persuaded the Prince Regent (later King George IV) to send two collectors to the colonies of New South Wales and the Cape of Good Hope to gather propagating material to rejuvenate and enhance the King’s Garden at Kew, then, as now, one of the world’s great botanic gardens.  The collectors chosen were the Kew-trained James Bowie and Allan Cunningham.

En route to their destinations they called at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for an intended short stay, but which extended to two years.  During this time they collected extensively around Rio, and undertook an epic overland expedition to São Paulo.

This book presents a transcript of their official journals and correspondence, with detailed interpretation, and links between their day-to-day accounts and surviving plant specimens in the Natural History Museum, London, and elsewhere.

The book concludes with an account of their first few months at Cape Town and Sydney respectively, where each subsequently had distinguished careers as botanists and explorers.

Their journeys are illustrated with numerous contemporary portraits, landscapes and plant paintings. 477 pages, soft cover. With 66 colour and black & white illustrations.  ISBN 978-0-9941505-0-9.  Privately published.

About the authors

In retirement Tony Orchard and his wife Theresa are compiling and publishing a detailed biography of the botanist/explorer Allan Cunningham.  “The Botanist and the Judge” is the first of several planned publications.

Tony Orchard has had an extensive career as a Botanist at the highest levels: Beginning at the State Herbarium of South Australia (AD) (1972);  then Curator at the Cheeseman Herbarium in Auckland, NZ, (AK) (1972-1978); foundation Curator, Tasmanian Herbarium (HO) (1978-1992); Editor/Executive Editor, Flora of Australia (1992-1998), Director (and other positions) at ABRS Flora Section (1998-2003); botanist and Herbarium Registrar, Australian National Herbarium, Canberra, (2003-2005); Compiler, Australian Plant Census (2005-2006); Assistant Manager, Plant Biosecurity, Biosecurity Australia (2006-2009), Australian Botanical Liaison Officer, ABLO, Kew (2008-2009).  Source:

Theresa Orchard is a professional botanist.  After training at Aberystwyth University and University College, London, she moved to Australia in 1969, teaching Botany as a Tutor at the University of Adelaide (1970-1972).  From 1972-1978 she was a Tutor and Research Assistant in the Botany Department, University of Auckland, NZ, and from 2001 to 2008, was employed at the Australian National Herbarium , entering botanical collection records to the ANSHIR database.  In 2008-2009 she accompanied Tony to London where he was ABLO, and together they gathered extensive documentary and specimen data in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Florence and Geneva  for the research underpinning their Cunningham publications.  Follow up private trips to London in 2011 and 2012 provided further Cunningham data.

More books by A.E.&T.A.Orchard

The book, “King’s Collectors for Kew” can be purchased direct from the authors.
AUD$52 plus postage
Go to The Allan Cunningham Project contact page to send a request for purchase.



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