Colenso and his contemporaries
Open now | 10am – 5pm, Monday – Saturday | Level one
Like many Victorians, William Colenso (1811–1899) was a man of many interests: printer, missionary, linguist, educationalist, author, politician, letter-writer, botanist, lexicographer, explorer.
Such polymaths, both male and female, lived rich, interconnected, transnational lives and populate the pockets and corners of our 19th-century re-imaginings. Yet, they remain challenging figures for biographers and historians alike.
This exhibition takes a fresh look at the world of Colenso and his contemporaries by re-situating objects and visitors inside a Victorian cabinet of curiosities.
Chance encounters and unexpected connections suggest new ways of understanding the complexities of the people, places and things that constitute the Victorian ‘republic of letters’.
This exhibition has been curated by Charlotte Thompson Darling, Rhys Owen, and Sydney J. Shep.
William Colenso, 1858 or ca 1865. Photograph by John Nicol Crombie. Ref: 1/4-003097-F.