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The Medicinal Garden

Podcast – Clare Hickman, Claire Preston, Carole Rawcliffe

  • 24 June 2020
  • The British Art Talks podcast is a new audio series from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. It features new research and aims to enhance and expand knowledge of British art and architecture.

    Podcast will be available from 24 June

The garden has long been an important subject matter of the British history of art, but what of the medicinal garden, its visual culture and aesthetics, its significance as a sensory and experimental site, and for artists? This episode brings together a set of scholars whose diverse researches shed new light on the physic, botanical and medicinal garden from the medieval to the eighteenth century. A wide-ranging discussion will consider the relationship between the garden and health, engagements between science and design in the garden, and the visual / literary culture of the medicinal garden.

About the speakers

  • Head and shoulders portrait of Clare Hickman in garden landscape

    Clare Hickman is Senior Lecturer in History at Newcastle University. She has recently completed a Wellcome funded Medical History & Humanities Fellowship, on ‘The Garden as a Laboratory’, which she is currently writing up as a monograph for Yale University Press - The Doctors Garden: Medicine, Science and Horticulture in Late Georgian Britain (due to be published in 2021). Her previous research on the history of hospital gardens, Therapeutic Landscapes: A History of English Hospital Gardens Since 1800, was published by Manchester University Press in 2013. Clare is also researching the sensory histories of landscape including pine forests; the history of the mapping of rights of way in post-war Britain and their use for walking and wellbeing; and how thinking about the use and experience of landscapes in the past can be used to create a more inclusive approach to interpretation for today’s public. She is also leading two network grants: ‘MedEnv: Intersections of Medical and Environmental Humanities’ funded by the Wellcome Trust and ‘Unlocking landscapes: History, Culture and Sensory Diversity in Landscape Use and Decision Making' funded by the AHRC.

  • Claire Preston headshot

    Claire Preston (Professor of Renaissance Literature at Queen Mary University of London) works on the intersections of early-modern literary and scientific writing. Her most recent monograph is The Poetics of Scientific Investigation in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford, 2015), which won the British Society for Literature and Science Annual Prize. She is the general editor of the forthcoming Oxford edition of The Complete Works of Sir Thomas Browne (8 volumes), and is currently writing a book about the rhetoric of ‘big science’ from Oldenburg to Oppenheimer.

  • carole rawcliffe

    Carole Rawcliffe is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where she has taught since 1992. She has published widely on the history of hospitals, disease and the pursuit of health in the premodern period, challenging many entrenched assumptions about medieval ignorance and superstition. Her books include Medicine in Later Medieval England (1995), Medicine for the Soul (1999), Leprosy in Medieval England (2006) and Urban Bodies: Communal Health in Medieval English Towns and Cities (2013), as well as co-edited collections of essays on Society in an Age of Plague (2011) and Policing the Urban Environment in Premodern Europe (2019). Her more local research interests resulted in a two-volume History of Norwich (2004), co-edited with Richard Wilson, and a recent edition of The Norwich Chamberlains’ Accounts 1539-40 to 1544-45 (2019). A significant number of her published articles consider the ways in which medieval men and women sought to combat disease by following the advice set out in regimens of health, a type of literature notable for its focus upon the benefits of green space and pleasing environments.