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Academic & Professional Books  History & Other Humanities  History of Science & Nature

Women, Environment, and Networks of Empire Elizabeth Gwillim and Mary Symonds in Madras

New
By: Anna Winterbottom(Editor), Victoria Dickenson(Editor), Ben Cartwright(Editor), Lauren Williams(Editor)
378 pages, 48 plates with 65 colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w illustrations, 2 tables
Women, Environment, and Networks of Empire
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  • Women, Environment, and Networks of Empire ISBN: 9780228018865 Hardback Oct 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
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About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Elizabeth Gwillim (1763-1807) and her sister Mary Symonds (1772-1854) produced over two hundred watercolours depicting birds, fish, flowers, people, and landscapes around Madras (now Chennai), India. The sisters' detailed letters fill four large volumes in the British Library; their artwork is in the Blacker Wood Natural History Collection of McGill University Library in Canada and in the South Asia Collection in Britain. The first book about their work and lives, Women, Environment, and Networks of Empire asks what these materials reveal about nature, society, and environment in early nineteenth-century South India.

Gwillim and Symonds left for India in 1801, following the appointment of Elizabeth's husband, Henry Gwillim, to the Supreme Court of Madras. Their paintings document, on one hand, the rapidly expanding colonial city of Madras and its population and, on the other, the natural environment and wildlife of the city. Gwillim's paintings of birds are remarkable for their detail, naturalism, and accuracy. In their studies of natural history, Gwillim and Symonds relied on the expertise of Indian bird-catchers, fishermen, physicians, artists, and translators, contributing to a unique intersection of European and Asian natural knowledge. The sisters' extensive correspondence demonstrates how women shaped networks of trade and scholarship through exchanges of plants, books, textiles, and foods.

In Women, Environment, and Networks of Empire an interdisciplinary group of scholars use the paintings and writings of Elizabeth Gwillim and Mary Symonds to explore natural history, the changing environment, colonialism, and women's lives at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Contents

Acknowledgments   xi
Introduction / Anna Winterbottom   3

Part One: Painting, Collecting, and Observing
1. “Busy in Making Drawings of the Country”: The Madras and Environs Album  / Ben Cartwright   27
      Case Study 1: “I Have Had My Share of Amusement in Making Them”: Mary Symonds’s Pasteboard Models / Hana Nikčević   48
2. The Ornithology of Elizabeth, Lady Gwillim / Suryanarayana Subramanya   60
      Case Study 2: “Curious for Fish”: Ichthyological Watercolours / Shyamal Lakshminarayanan and Hana Nikčević   97
3. Mosques, Gopurams, Varied Waters, and Stormy Seas: Built and Natural Environments of Early Nineteenth-Century Madras / Vikram Bhatt and Vinita Damodaran   111
4. Lady Gwillim’s Botany / Henry Noltie   134
      Case Study 3: Indian Expertise on the Natural World in the Gwillim and Symonds Archives / Saraphina Masters   153
5. Artistic and Literary Contexts: Ornithology and Natural History Studies in India - The Mughal and Early British Periods / Marika Sardar and Abdul Jamil Urfi   159

Part Two: Social Lives, Social Networks, and Material Culture
6. Sir Henry Gwillim: Tender Husband, “Fiery Briton,” and Stalwart Judge / Arthur MacGregor   179
7. “My Things by the Ships Have All Come Safe”: Clothing and Textiles in the Gwillim Letters and Drawings / Toolika Gupta, Alexandra Kim, and Ann Wass   198
      Case Study 4: Lady Gwillim’s China: A Case Study in Global Exchange / Victoria Dickenson   219
8. “There Are as Many Sorts of Mango as of Apples”: The Gwillim Archive and the Emergence of Anglo-Indian Cuisine / Nathalie Cooke   231
9. Elizabeth Gwillim: The Lady as Proto-ethnographer / Jeffrey Spear   248
      Case Study 5: Of Mimesis and Mockery:The Letters of Elizabeth Gwillim and Mary Symonds / Minakshi Menon   268
10. Elizabeth Gwillim and Mary Symonds and the World of Women in Late Eighteenth- and Early Nineteenth-Century India / Rosemary Raza   276
Conclusion / Victoria Dickenson and Anna Winterbottom   295

Bibliography   309
Contributors   323
Index   327

Customer Reviews

Biography

Anna Winterbottom is a research associate at McGill University. Victoria Dickenson is a professor of practice at McGill University. Ben Cartwright is a writer and former curator at the South Asia Collection in Norwich, UK. Lauren Williams is the liaison librarian at the Blacker Wood Natural History Collection.

New
By: Anna Winterbottom(Editor), Victoria Dickenson(Editor), Ben Cartwright(Editor), Lauren Williams(Editor)
378 pages, 48 plates with 65 colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w illustrations, 2 tables
Media reviews

"For those who value close historical study of a time and a place and new historical sources, this book – and the trove of primary materials unearthed by the researchers of the Gwillim project that it contains – gives us a window onto British, Indian, and imperial worlds, nineteenth-century material culture, foodways, clothing and textiles, and natural history, as well as women's work in art and science."
– Ann Shteir, York University and editor of Flora's Fieldworkers: Women and Botany in Nineteenth-Century Canada

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