Sarah Carpenter Botany Mug

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This colourful mug represents the history of plant migration in the 19th century, and specifically the role played in this period of history by the SS Great Britain.

Recreated in beautiful hand-painted designs by artist Sarah Carpenter, the four orchid species featured on this mug were originally brought to the UK on board Brunel's steamship. Victorian botanists used new technology - the Wardian Case - to transport exotic plants back to Europe. There they would fill the conservatories and glass houses of the wealthy.

The impact of this new trade in botany can still be felt today. Nurserymen like Thomas Lang also used steamships like the SS Great Britain to take native European crops and plants out to Australia. Intended to provide food, or perhaps make the British abroad feel more at home, these plants in their own way formed part of European colonisation.

In the UK, many of the plant species now familiar to us first arrived on our shores as part of this Victorian fascination with botany. 

This mug was made in the UK and printed in Bristol by Stokes Croft China.

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