Thursday, March 20, 2008

Springtime through Botanical Prints

March is roaring like a lion outdoors so I am trying to bring spring indoors by visiting one of my favorite websites Panteek prints. I am crazy about all types of prints particularly those that advance my understanding of garden history and culture. I've posted a very narrow selection of botanicals printed between 1825 and 1904. All are available for sale at Panteek but my budget allows for browsing only! The Primula above was drawn by Jane Loudon (1807-1858) in The Ladies Flower Garden of Ornamental Perennials in 1843-9. The prints in her books were hand colored by various technicians and thus vary in quality. This one is lovely.

Benjamin Maund The Botanical Garden 1825-1851 (above)

The Panteek write-up states that Benjamin Maund in his 13 volumes of this periodical, wanted "in the spirit so very true to the era, was to to create a work combining accurate scientific instruction with an occasional appeal to the imagination and to the moral and religious feelings". A Primula verticillata is depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the plate. Primula verticillata was introduced in England in 1825 but was collected in Yemen. An improved variety was first seen in Kew's collection in 1873 as Primula verticillata var. sinensis. It is nick-named the Abyssinian primrose.

Gardener's Magazine of Botany 1850: Primula Auricula

Thomas Moore, curator of the Botanic Garden of Chelsea published The Gardener's Magazine for a few years in the 1850's Panteek states that the earlier publications of Moore's magazine contained quality prints of "a singular beauty and grace". Jane Loudon writes in her volume Ladies Companion to the Flower Garden that the p. auricula : is a native of the Alps of Switzerland, where its flowers are commonly yellow and very fragrant; it may be found in abundance on the roadside of the highest part of the pass of the Simplon, growing with the different Saxifrages, and not far from Rhododendron hirsutum."

Jeannie Foord Parrot Tulip 1904

I am unfamiliar with the printing process called "pochoir". Panteek writes that pochoir process involves "single layers of color ... added by hand to a lithograph using a stencil, in a precursor of the silk screening technique". Here, Foords drawings were transformed into prints by E. Greningaire of Paris. Not much is known about Foord, a Scottish artist. Panteek writes that Foord intended her drawings to be teaching templates for students of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Snowdrops circa 1896

Drawn by M. P. Vemeuil and published by Eugene Gresset, this print represents the genre of Art Nouveau French pochoir prints. I love the evolving interpretation of nature represented in these last two images. They've moved beyond attempts to realistically represent nature to the interpretation of nature in art.

I recommend a visit to Panteek when gardening outside is unpleasant! You'll have a wonderful visit.


bs said...

those are beautiful! i was a sucker for really labor intensive crafts in school. lithography was great fun because you had to use a hydraulic lift to move the stones around, and then there were these medieval tools called levigators for scouring your predecessors' prints off the surface. but i've never heard of pochoir! thanks for sharing, and thanks for stopping by. you have a very thoughtful sensibility; i'll have to spend more time here exploring.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Oh wow, I love botanical prints and you have so many of them in many different styles too. Simply gorgeous!

kjohnson said...

bs, I also have never heard of levigators. More research is in order. I am sucker for anything that requires intensive labor. Maybe that's why my back gave out and I had to semi-retire.

Yolanda elizabet, I picked up some really great 18th century gardening prints while in Haarlem a few years ago. I'll scan them and post them in a few weeks.


Desiree said...

Wonderful find! It is so neat to look at antique prints. We have a lot of antique shops here in Ventura, CA, and I just love to imagine what it would have been like living in another century. Simple times I would imagine.

Sarah Laurence Blog said...

Lovely prints! It might make you feel better to know it was snowing (but not sticking) and hailing in England today. I fear for our daffs. Flower prints are the perfect anecdote to winter blues in spring. Thanks for sharing the site.

Melanie said...

These are beautiful prints. I keep telling myself I need botanical art in my house but never seem to remember to buy anything. I even forget to blow up some of my own photography, surely that would be better than blank walls.

HB said...

I am an avid admirer of botanical illustrations and have threatened for years to do my own day. Here is a site you might enjoy