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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Joseph Dalton Hooker

c. 1880s
an unknown artist

gelatin silver photograph on paper (backing sheet: 25.6 cm x 22.6 cm, image: 8.7 cm x 6.8 cm)

Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911) was one of the nineteenth century’s most eminent botanists. Hooker is said to have demonstrated an interest in science from a very young age, as a child attending lectures delivered by his father, William Jackson Hooker, at Glasgow University. Aged 15, he was formally admitted to the university as a student, initially in classics and mathematics and then medicine. On graduating in 1839, Hooker joined the Naval Medical Service and was appointed to the position of assistant surgeon and naturalist to one of the two ships engaged in James Clark Ross’s expedition to Antarctica. Between 1839 and 1843, the expedition sailed along a vast stretch of the Antarctic coast and also visited islands in the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Tierra del Fuego, New Zealand, Van Diemen’s Land and (briefly) Sydney. Hooker published the results of the botanical explorations he conducted on the trip in three landmark texts, Flora Antarctica (1844–47), Flora Novae-Zelandiae (1853–55) and Flora Tasmaniae (1855–60). The third of these volumes was particularly significant for containing an essay in which Hooker supported the then controversial theory of natural selection proposed by his close friend, Charles Darwin. Between 1847 and 1851, Hooker travelled in India, Nepal and Tibet, making detailed studies of the flora and topography of these regions. Hooker succeeded his father as Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1865, remaining in this role until his retirement in 1885.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by L Gordon Darling AC CMG 2009

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker OM (age 63 in 1880)

Supported by

L Gordon Darling AC CMG (38 portraits supported)

Related portraits

1. Joseph Dalton Hooker, c. 1860. All Rui Hoffmann.

Related information

The Companion

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Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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