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Botanical riches: stories of botanical exploration

Richard Aitken
The Miegunyah Press in association with the State Library of Victoria
Paperback 256pp Illustrated ISBN 9780522855050

Richard Aitken traces the gradual realisation of the potential of plants for medicinal, nutritional, flavouring and decorative purposes from the ancient and classical worlds, through to the Renaissance and the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to today. Entire mercantile societies revolved around the trade in spices, oils and fruit and vegetables, making those in possession of such natural resources extremely wealthy.

Botanical riches is magnificently illustrated with some of the world's most glorious engraved, lithographed and hand-coloured botanical illustrations. From the earliest Renaissance herbals to the elaborate and beautiful volumes from the golden age of printing, books celebrating plants from far-off lands brought with them a sense of wonder.

Richard Aitken is a Melbourne-based architect, historian, curator and poeticist. His books include The Oxford companion to Australian gardens (2002), Gardenesque(2004) and The garden of ideas (2010).

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