Expedition in Iceland
It’s the anniversary of the death of Sir William Jackson Hooker who died on this day in 1865
Hooker was both a botanist and a botanical illustrator. Like Thomas Andrew Knight, Hooker enjoyed the friendship of Joseph Banks.
Hooker was wealthy; he didn’t need a patron to fund his expeditions. His first expedition was to Iceland in the summer of 1809. This was another one of Bank’s ideas - and Hooker went there to collect, as well as to make trials of everything he discovered.
Unfortunately, on his way home, there was a terrible fire. Most people don't realize it, but Hooker nearly died. All of his work was destroyed in the fire. Yet, Hooker was able to reconstruct his discoveries and publish an account called Tour in Iceland. It turns out, his mind was a steel trap.
Hooker was known worldwide for an unsurpassed herbarium. By 1841, he was appointed the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Hooker brought Kew to greatness; expanding the gardens from 10 to 75 acres, adding a 270-acre Arboretum, and establishing a museum for botany.
In 1865, there was a throat infection going around at Kew. Hooker contracted it and died. His son Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, and outstanding botanist in his own right succeeded him at Kew.