A Trailblazing Woman of Science - Free Talk

Saturday 9 July
10.30 - 11.30am

Lady Emma, 4th Countess of Tankerville (1752-1836)
A Talk by June Watson, B.A. MRes.

Riverhouse Barn Arts Centre is hosting a unique exhibition of twenty-one botanical watercolour illustrations painted by Lady Emma, 4th Countess of Tankerville, (1752-1836); a re-discovered intellectual who made a significant contribution to early modern science in the late eighteenth-century. This hitherto unknown female botanist resided at Walton House, Walton on Thames, for nearly sixty years from the time of her marriage in 1771 until her death in 1836.

Lady Tankerville researched and painted plants to diffuse new knowledge to share with her scientific friends in metropolitan society while staying on the island of Madeira between 1811-1812.  Intriguingly, she wrote scientific reports on the reverse of each illustration describing the uses of each plant for medicine and commerce. The illustrations also reveal her knowledge of Linnaean taxonomy and include information of when the plants were introduced to the island. They form part of the ‘Tankerville Collection’ of 648 drawings, one of the most important collections at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew today.

This exhibition was researched by historian June Watson in collaboration with the Head Curator at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew to raise the profile of the ‘Tankerville Collection’s’ national importance and need for costly conservation. June has generously donated her time to give a talk on the life and work of a woman who made a substantial contribution to early modern science and who was subsequently airbrushed from the male-centred histories of science.

This talk is free but we recommend booking ahead.
Robert Phillips Gallery
Riverhouse Arts Centre
Manor Road
Walton on Thames
KT12 2PF