Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Cultivating Commerce
Cultures of Botany in Britain and France, 1760–1815


Part of Science in History

  • Date Published: June 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107565685

£ 23.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Sarah Easterby-Smith rewrites the histories of botany and horticulture from the perspectives of plant merchants who sold botanical specimens in the decades around 1800. These merchants were not professional botanists, nor were they the social equals of refined amateurs of botany. Nevertheless, they participated in Enlightenment scholarly networks, acting as intermediaries who communicated information and specimens. Thanks to their practical expertise, they also became sources of new knowledge in their own right. Cultivating Commerce argues that these merchants made essential contributions to botanical history, although their relatively humble status means that their contributions have received little sustained attention to date. Exploring how the expert nurseryman emerged as a new social figure in Britain and France, and examining what happened to the elitist, masculine culture of amateur botany when confronted by expanding public participation, Easterby-Smith sheds fresh light on the evolution of transnational Enlightenment networks during the Age of Revolutions.

    • Reconsiders the social history of botany from the perspectives of non-elite practitioners
    • Accessibly written and thoughtfully illustrated
    • Adopts a fresh transnational approach to continuities and changes from the Old Regime to Napoleon
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'An impressive comparison between France and Britain which succeeds in restoring horticulture to a central place in the polite practice of natural history. Easterby-Smith's carefully-researched account of the social world of public botany in the decades around 1800 makes a valuable contribution to the field. The book is a model for future research in its attentiveness to paper technologies, social status, gender and taste as sites for constructing the cosmopolitan network of collecting and consuming plants where botanists and gardeners exchanged specimens and knowledge, as well as in its insights into the nursery trade.' E. C. Spary, University of Cambridge

    'In this ambitious, wide-ranging and elegantly-written monograph, Sarah Easterby-Smith unlocks the door leading into the unsuspected world of plant traders in England and France in the late Enlightenment and early nineteenth century. Neglected in standard histories of botany, these modest figures established transnational global mercantile connections, stimulated botanical collecting and helped trigger the emergence of a public audience for gardening lore, in so doing refashioning themselves in ways that allowed them to bridge the worlds of commercial culture and polite science. Cultivating Commerce will be warmly welcomed by all scholars of Enlightenment science, culture and commerce - and by gardening enthusiasts everywhere.' Colin Jones, Queen Mary University of London

    'Cultivating Commerce very convincingly retraces the protean pathways of knowledge through the logic of the marketplace, while at the same time highlighting how the elite nurseries played out their rivalries within scientific fields that they had contributed to broaden. This work will stand as an essential contribution to the history of science in the public sphere.' Therese Bru, Metascience

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107565685
    • length: 253 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: cultivating commerce
    1. Plant traders and expertise
    2. Science, commerce and culture
    3. Amateur botany
    4. Social status and the communication of knowledge
    5. Commerce and cosmopolitanism
    6. Cosmopolitanism under pressure
    Conclusion: commerce and cultivation.

  • Author

    Sarah Easterby-Smith, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    Sarah Easterby-Smith is Lecturer in Modern History and Director of the Centre for French History and Culture at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Warwick and has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute of Advanced Study, University of Warwick, the European University Institute, Florence and the Henry E. Huntington Library, California. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Social History Society and is also a member of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the British Society for the History of Science and the Society for the Study of French History.

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.