Oliver Rackham

Of knowledge, life, good and evil

The British Museum contains more about trees than one might expect: trees in paintings, drawings, sculpture, and all kinds of small artefacts of wood and bark. Frances Carey, sometime Deputy Keeper of Prints and Drawings, discusses trees as viewed through the collections. She deals not with trees themselves — for that one goes to the Natural History Museum and Kew Gardens — but with trees as interpreted (or misinterpreted) by botanical illustrators, divines, etchers, literary writers, medallists, metaphorists, mythologists, painters, poets, politicians and sculptors, on a worldwide scale going back to the Neolithic if not beyond.

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