Botanical Ceiling Panels of the Natural History Museum
168 pages, 171 x 216 mm
The Natural History Museum, London
How can a major art collection be on full display to the public, yet never be noticed? The answer is that it is on the ceiling. These painted panels were a key part of the Natural History Museum's original design and are covered in plants of all descriptions, painted in rich colours and finely gilded.'
...each one tells a story — plants that have made and broken Empires, been the cause for terrible human suffering, or have brought joy through their beauty. ... the plants themselves tell stories that bring to life the times in which the Museum was conceived and built — the Victorian age.' From the Preface to The Gilded Canopy
With specially commissioned photographs showing every single panel and full of intriguing plant histories, this book is a fascinating insight into one of London's best kept secrets
Unique artworks revealed in detail never seen before
Fascinating botanical histories
Specially commissioned photographs
"The book is a very absorbing bedtime read… that would be enjoyed by all those interested in architecture, history and botanical art."
Pat Peltham, Friends of the Botantic Garden Adelaide Gazette, April 2006
"Provides the first comprehensive listing of the plants so beautifully represented in the ceiling panels of the Natural History Museum, and may be of great interest to the botanically inclined visitor." Eve Almond, The Victorian Naturalist, Vol.123 (5) 2006
Sandra Knapp is author of Potted Histories (2004). The French edition was winner of the prestigious French gardening-book award, the Redouté Prize.
Bob Press is an expert in Museum history and Associate Keeper of the Botany Department. He is co-author of Nature's Treasurehouse (2001).