The ceiling of the Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall is a golden cover for a spectacular natural treasure trove.
It is a detail that most visitors miss in the rush to see the Natural History Museum's collections, but Hintze Hall's ceiling is a work of art.
The soaring vault is a golden cover for a spectacular natural treasure trove, adorned with 162 illustrated panels showing plants from across the world.
A gleaming canopy has been created with paintings set against wood, glass and metal, fashioning a roof that complements the splendour of the specimens below.
Cotton, along with tobacco, was a New World mainstay of British trading dominance in the eighteenth century. But cultivation depended upon slave labour, leading to millions of people being taken from their homes and shipped from Africa to plantations throughout the Americas.
Cotton's presence on the ceiling reflects the immense social and economic role it played in nineteenth-century Britain.