The Botanical Cabinet
195 Mare Street
The Botanical Cabinet included work by Marcia Teusink, Milena Michalski and Tulika Ladsariya, who responded directly or indirectly to the legacy of a historic plant business in Hackney, London, called the Loddiges Nursery. Conrad Johan Loddiges, a German emigre, began with a small seed shop on Mare Street went on with the help of his son Gerge to become a major importer and exporter of plants from around the world from the 1780s to 1852. The Loddiges were responsible for introducing many species that are now common and beloved in the UK, including various camellias, orchids, palms, wisteria and ferns. The nurserymen were credited with lots of innovative and progressive ideas in their time, but they also benefitted from the rampant exploitation of natural resources and peoples duringt he colonial era. There were many unintended consequences that would result from this mass moving of species around the globe, such as the proliferation of 'invasive species (begging the quesiton, who invaded whom, really?). The Loddiges, for example, introduced Rhododendron Ponticum to the UK, which has become very destructive to the local ecosystem. They showed off their plants through a series of publications called The Botanical Cabinet, which included intricate engravings by George and then Edward Cooke, which gave the show its title. The exhibition took place at 195 Mare Street, a grand house built in 1697 which is located a stone’s throw away from the nursery site.