John Bradby Blake’s life was short but exceptional. During a span of only three years in the southern Chinese port city of Canton, Blake and his Chinese artist(s) produced several hundred exquisite, botanically accurate, coloured drawings of Chinese plants, many of which were unknown in the West. Hidden from public view for more than two centuries, these singular and historically crucial collaborative artistic creations have only recently resurfaced.

This series of six illustrated talks, focussing on the botanical drawings, will lead you into a previously unknown world in London and Canton, which Blake participated in and shaped. It will explore the many meanings of the material results of a rich and unique cross-cultural encounter which continued to reverberate for decades after his death.

Our speakers, who have worked closely together on the Blake drawings and associated, scattered manuscripts and texts (in Chinese and western languages), are experts in the fields of botany, art history, garden history and the history of science; and they come to you from the United Kingdom, the United States and Taiwan.

The series will run each Monday at 18:00 from 7th February to 7th March inclusive and costs £24 for the series or £5 for each lecture.