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Great Flower Books 1700-1900

Great Flower Books 1700 —1900One’s initial reaction to this book is “Oh, coffee table”, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it is in a large format, and it does have wonderful colored pictures, but there the resemblance stops.

Great Flower Books 1700 —1900One’s initial reaction to this book is “Oh, coffee table”, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, it is in a large format, and it does have wonderful colored pictures, but there the resemblance stops. Sitwell may have been a poet, but Wilfrid Blunt was a pre-eminent art historian, author of a history of Kew Gardens among other things. Their associates in this endeavor were also very serious.

This book was originally published in 1956. Its purpose was to offer guidance to collectors and those wishing to learn more about the history of horticulture through art. The editors have made slight revisions and incorporated a few more pieces of information to cover the thirty-five year gap. It is not their fault if the subject matter is divine!

In less than two hundred pages, there are more than fifty colored plates, reproduced from the original paintings with great fidelity. The eighteenth century illustrators worked from a copper engraving and colored the prints by hand. Later in the nineteenth century, lithography replaced the copper engraving, but printing in color was still far off.

Probably the most famous of all flower painters was Pierre Joseph Redouté. He is represented in this volume by five plates, There are also nineteen entries for Redouté’s works in the bibliography. He rose from dire poverty to work for Marie Antoinette.

Maria Sybilla Merian, a Dutch woman who painted in the Surinam jungle with her daughter Dorothea in the 1690s, was primarily interested in insects. Some readers may recall that her pictures of flowers were used for US postage stamps about five years ago.

Three hundred years later, the Englishwoman Margaret Mee traveled to the same territory in her eighties and sent back work of surpassing beauty and fidelity to nature.

Georg Dionys Ehret was another eighteenth century master. He began as a gardener in Heidelberg, but ended as a protégé of the Duchess of Portland in England, for whom ‘Portland’ roses were named.

All this artistic effort was stimulated by the arrival of one extraordinarily beautiful plant after another in England and the Continent, starting in the late seventeenth century. People do not realize that the native English flora was somewhat sparse. With travel across the Turkish Empire and the opening of the Americas, this changed radically. The plants we take for granted such as lilac, tulips, and carnations for example, were all imported from the Mediterranean regions

Great Flower Books 1700 —1900
A Bibliographical Record of Two Centuries of Finely-illustrated Flower Books

Sachaverell Sitwell
New York, The Atlantic Monthly Press - 1990

 

Review by Judith M. Taylor, M. D.
www.horthistoria.com
The San Francisco Garden Club
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About the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Mass Hort logo newFounded in 1829, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is dedicated to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment.

2017-2018 Calendar & Courses

2017-2018 Calendar and Courses

Mass Hort Classes & Events

Fri Nov 24 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sat Nov 25 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sun Nov 26 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Wed Nov 29 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Thu Nov 30 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Fri Dec 01 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sat Dec 02 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sat Dec 02 @ 1:00PM - 03:00PM
Make Your Own Herbal Gifts
Sat Dec 02 @ 4:00PM - 06:00PM
Holiday Hort Gifts
Sun Dec 03 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Wed Dec 06 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Thu Dec 07 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Fri Dec 08 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sat Dec 09 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Sun Dec 10 @10:00AM - 06:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Mon Dec 11 @10:00AM - 06:00PM
Festival of Trees and Snow Village
Tue Jan 09 @ 1:30PM - 03:00PM
Tour: Harvard's Glass Flower Collection
Tue Jan 16 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Botany for the Home Gardener
Wed Jan 17 @10:00AM - 02:00PM
Designing the Winter Landscape
Thu Jan 18 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Grow Your Own Succulent Container
Sat Jan 20 @10:00AM - 02:00PM
Greenhouse Growing and Maintenance
Wed Jan 24 @10:00AM - 04:00PM
Digital Photography: Capturing Botanic Images
Thu Jan 25 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Landscaping and Planting Design