JUST THE TONIC
The true story of how the Gin & Tonic came to be - featuring the history of malaria, botany of quinine, origins of tonic water and evolution of the G&T, in 20,000 words and 100 illustrations.
Out 3 October 2019
7 April 2022
The first paper from our study of the Colombian collection is out: Enviados directo a Londres: Los objetos colombianos en la Colección de Botánica Económica del Real Jardín Botánico de Kew.
21 February 2022
Many thanks to Kew colleagues for my nomination to the William Aiton medal "for exceptional service"
16 June, 2021, 19.00
'Just The Tonic' A Natural History of Tonic Water
Talk by Mark Nesbitt & Kim Walker for Kew Society. Free and open to all. Book here
29 April 2021, 13.00 EDT (18.00 BST)
Just the Tonic: A Transatlantic Story of Sickness, Pleasure and the Gin & Tonic
Talk by Mark Nesbitt & Kim Walker for Newport Mansions, Free! Book here
23 Dec 2020. New book from tapa project! Download full text: Material approaches to Polynesian barkcloth: Cloth, collections, communities or browse online/buy hard copy at Sidestone Press
10 Dec 2020. 20.00. Book talk with Kim Walker. HLSI. Book here
3 Dec 2020. 1900. Book talk with Kim Walker, South London Botanical Institute. Book here.
13 Feb 2020 Book talk. Linnean Society of London Booking
21 October 2019 6.30pm. Book talk: Kim Walker & Mark Nesbitt on Just the Tonic. Daunt Books, Hampstead £5.00. Booking
21-22 September 2019 Open House London - a rare opportunity to see inside Kew's original Museum of Economic Botany.
9-10 May. Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference. At Kew.
17 February. Uploaded 1997 PhD thesis, & 2018 paper on reference collections.
7 December. Conference: Recent advances in barkcloth conservation. At Kew.
29 October. Talk. The Mobile Museum:
botanical exchanges between the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew, and Australia. 6pm, Woolnough Lecture Theatre, Geology Building, University of Western Australia.
5 September. Obituary of Gordon Hillman in Nature Plants (& earlier, unsigned, in The Times)
August. New Publications on Helicteres, Richard Spruce, Victorian Jamaica
12 January. Gallery tour of Richard Spruce Amazon rainforest exhibition, Shirley Sherwood Gallery, midday. Free (included in Kew admission) but please book ahead at 020 8332 3622 or email email@example.com
10 January. Talk: Festive Botany: plants of Christmas and New Year. 8pm, Greeno Centre, Shepperton (SW London).
5 January. Research Pages updated.
24 November-18 December: Fieldwork in Oahu, Hawaii, with Dr Andy Mills and the Situating Tapa project.
22 November. Talk: Silk at Kew. At Silk Unravelled
23 October. Appointed Visiting Professor in the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London.
11 October. Talk: with Kim Walker A Tale of Two
Cities: Assembling Cinchona Bark Collections in Leiden and London. UCL Spices symposium
10 October. Hosting Annual Ethnobotany Lecture at Kew.
7 October - 11 March. Two exhibitions in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew: Plantae Amazonicae and Life in Death. Both feature Economic Botany specimens.
September: Blog post Botanical Wonders in Warrington
August. New manual on ethnobotany: Manual de Etnobotânica: Plantas, artefatos e Conhecimentos Indígenas
August. New working paper out from Mobile Museum project: The Economic Botany Collection at Kew: Analysis of Accessions Data
I work at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as Senior Research Leader for Interdisciplinary Research and curator of the Economic Botany Collection (EBC) and am a Visiting Professor in the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway - University of London.
As the photograph above hints, the EBC is extraordinarily varied in its holdings, aspiring to represent all uses of all plants in all places. While it might never have quite completed that task, the efforts of curators and collectors since 1847 make the EBC a wonderfully rich resource for research and teaching on many aspects of botany, history, anthropology and art and design. After a decade working in it, I feel I have barely scratched the surface.
In recent years my role has widened to supporting research drawing on the arts, humanities and social sciences across the Kew sites. I coordinate a research team of 25, made up of staff, PhD students, honorary researchers, and volunteers.
This website allows me to talk about my work at greater length than on Kew's official site (here is my Kew page), but readers will probably find it useful to see the official EBC pages.
Above all, I hope these pages will encourage students and other researchers interested in interdisciplinary research at Kew to contact me to discuss how we can work together.