When ‘Pistol’ and ‘Boo’ were illegally smuggled into Australia recently by the pirate Johnny Depp, it was another case of privileged celebrities believing that the rules don’t apply to them. Hollywood receives appropriate derision for such behaviour in the 21st century but in imperial France, two centuries ago, importing pets as status symbols was a completely different ball game.
Richard Heathcote is a garden historian and Director of Carrick Hill where one of his main interests is the social use of gardens. Science in the garden was certainly something that Empress Josephine Bonaparte had in mind when she purchased her country house Malmaison in 1799 (despite her Emperor husband’s misgivings about its lack of scale and grandeur)
In this fascianting talk, Richard will track the discovery and journey that the flora and fauna collected on Nicolas Baudin’s expedition to New Holland took to the Empress’s country retreat. He follows the stories of the botanists and artists that contributed to the remarkable landscape in which, from 1802, visitors could glimpse three kangaroos, two emus and five black swans grazing amidst melaleuca, acacia and casuarina trees.