Dániel Margócsy: "The European Encounter with Indian Nature: Revising the Hortus malabaricus (1678–1693)"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Engelska parken 6-3025 (Rausing Room)
  • Organiser: Office for History of Science, Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: Otto Sibum
  • Seminarium

History of Science Seminar Series

Research presentation by Dániel Margócsy, University of Cambridge.


Hendrik Rheede tot Drakesteyn’s Hortus malabaricus is the first luxurious botanical encyclopedia of South Asia, a twelve-volume work printed between 1678 and 1693 with hundreds of engraved illustrations. It has had an outsize influence throughout the centuries, and it continues to shape research into biodiversity in India. This talk presents a new account of the production of the Hortus malabaricus. I pay special attention to the albums of preparatory drawings now preserved at the British Library, as well as the botanical drawings of the Neapolitan carmelite priest Matteo di San Giuseppe, scattered across repositories in France and Italy, which, as I claim, were the original source of inspiration for the Hortus malabaricus. I argue that, by analyzing Matteo di San Giuseppe’s works, we can trace how the botanical imagery of a Dutch encyclopedia is related to Christianity at the Malabar Coast.