Speaker: Dr Emma Spary (University of Cambridge)

Many exotic plant materials would become household words for the well-to-do during the decades around 1700. A language of curiosity, innovation and invention surrounded attempts to understand, trade in and profit from them. This talk considers some of the ways in which lay consumers, merchants and medical experts appropriated and ‘domesticated’ exotic foods and drugs within the French metropolitan world. The aim is to show how consumption, innovation, trade, knowledge and colonialism intersected in medical advertising, and how the city facilitated the emergence of new practices and commodities out of plants that had grown thousands of miles away.