Art of Botanical Illustration
the twentieth century all types of botanical illustration including scientific
works, descriptions of exotic species, horticultural advertising, and
decorative works, flourished. Advances in printing technology have made
beautifully illustrated botanical books available to a mass audience.
Technology has also made possible high quality facsimile editions of early
works. Women continued to take a major role in the field; in fact, in
the twentieth century, the major British botanical magazines have been
predominately illustrated by women.
to be inspired by the beauty of flowers. Many artists are reinterpreting
traditional horticultural literature such as herbals and florilegia. Contemporary
book artists have produced works with hand colored engravings and decorated
covers that harken back to the elegant books of the late eighteenth century.
The joining of botanical art and poetry, so popular in the nineteenth
century, also continues with such major artists as Jim Dine, Leonard Baskin,
and Donald Sultan working with important poets to produce limited edition
works of the highest quality.
Arthur Grove, 1865-1942.
A supplement to Elwes' Monograph of the genus Lilium. London;
Dulau: Royal Horticultural Society, 1933-62.
The Australian painter Margaret Stones (1921- ) has been working
at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew for half a century. She has
produced more than four hunded drawings for Curtis's Botanical
Magazine as well as working on individual monographs. Her watercolor
paintings of flowers display the delicacy and fragility of living
flora. Her work is frequently exhibited in art galleries.
Wilfrid Blunt, 1901-
Tulips & Tulipomania; with sixteen plates from paintings
by Rory McEwen. London: Basilisk Press, 1977.
Rory McEwen (1932-1982) was one of the most influential twentieth
century botanical artists. Although his flowers are highly detailed
and botanically correct, they float in space in a dramatic, almost
John Nash, 1893-1977.
John Nash: twenty one wood engravings. Netherton, Wakefield, West
Yorkshire: Fleece Press, 1993.
Nash, who referred to himself as an "artist plantsman," developed
his love of gardening as a child in rural England. He illustrated many
books on horticulture and taught a course on plant illustration for many
years at the Flatford Mill Field Centre. He wrote that a good plant drawing
will "conform to the need for accuracy combined with the spark of
a live drawing" while a poor one "may serve its purpose but
gives no feeling of the living subject."
Elizabeth May McClintock, 1912-
California Flora. with wood engravings by John DePol. San
Francisco: Book Club of California, 1995 ([S.l.]: The Press in Tuscany
John DePol. (1913- ) is an illustrator, printmaker, and wood engraver
who has worked with many book artists and private presses. The University
of Delaware Library holds a collection of his papers, including
many examples of his work.
Strawberries. Their History & Uses. The Little Farm Press,
Language of Herbs. The Little Farm Press, 1990.
Language of Herbs II. The Little Farm Press, 1991.
Language of Herbs Three. The Little Farm Press, 1994.
Violets. The Little Farm Press, 1993.
All of the books are written, illustrated, hand-colored, printed,
and bound by Jane Conneen at her press in Bath, Pennsylvania.
Gift of Marnie Flook
Twelve Flowers. Tympan Alley Press, 1983.
Voss, a book designer and typographer, studied printmaking at
the California State University, Fullerton. He has worked at the
International Museum of Graphic Communications in Buena Park, California
and as a printer for several small presses including the Lyceum
Press and the Ampersand Workshop.
Gift of Marnie Flook
Anthony Hecht, 1923-
The Gehenna Florilegium. Rockport, Me.: Gehenna Press, 1998.
The term "florilegium" or flower book was first used
in the seventeenth century for books that highlighted the illustrations
of beautiful flowers. Unlike herbals or gardening manuals, these
books emphasized the decorative quality of flowers, rather than
their useful properties. They were popular again in the nineteenth
century, as gift books that often combined pictures of lovely flowers
with sentimental poetry.
The Gehenna Florilegium which pairs the poetry of Anthony
Hecht with the color woodcuts of Leonard Baskin, refers back to
both these traditions but with a very modern result. Like the ornate
flower books produced for the wealthy seventeenth century collector,
the Florilegium combines the highest quality of book design,
and fine press printing with the work of a renowned artist.
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Last modified: 12/21/10