Home Events TALK: The Life and Legacy of Mary Somerset, 1st Duchess of Beaufort

TALK: The Life and Legacy of Mary Somerset, 1st Duchess of Beaufort

Join PhD-Researcher India Cole for an enlightening talk on Mary Somerset, the first Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1715), a pioneering botanist whose contributions to horticulture have left a lasting impact and whose work is currently featured in the new exhibition A Garden of Botanical Art.

As a visionary gardener, Mary Somerset transformed her estates at Beaufort House in London and Badminton House in Gloucestershire into renowned botanical havens. She was the first person in England to successfully cultivate several tropical plants, showcasing her innovative spirit and adaptability. Her monumental herbarium (collection of pressed plants) and florilegium (collection of botanical paintings) stand as enduring testaments to her botanical expertise and passion.

This talk will provide an overview of the Duchess’s horticultural achievements, exploring her methods, discoveries, and the broader context of botanical study during the 17th and early 18th centuries. India Cole will also discuss the significance of the current exhibition, which highlights Somerset’s lasting legacy in the field of botany and botanical art.

Don’t miss this opportunity to delve into the life and legacy of a trailblazing woman who played a crucial role in the history of botany.


Wednesday 19th June, 6.30pm-7.30pm & Friday 21st June,1pm-2pm in the Old Hall, Badminton House.

The talks are FREE but we highly recommend you visit the exhibition in advance A Garden of Botanical Art: Paintings from the collection of Mary Somerset, First Duchess of Beaufort – Badminton Estate


India Cole is an AHRC-CDP PhD-researcher based between Queen Mary University of London and Oxford Botanic Garden. Her research focuses on the botanist Mary Somerset, the first Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1715), and more broadly she is interested in the history of botany, horticulture, and natural history in the early-modern period. Follow @India_Cole_

Mary Capel (1630–1715), Later Duchess of Beaufort, and Her Sister Elizabeth (1633–1678), Countess of Carnarvon’, by Sir Peter Lely (The Met Fifth Avenue, NY)

  • Date : 19 June 2024 - 21 June 2024
  • Venue : Badminton Estate

Purchase Ticket

Lunchtime talk - Friday 21st June, 1pm-2pm
Evening talk - 19th June, 6.30pm-8.30pm