Wednesday 18 March 2009

The Art of Botany

Do you remember the aubretia
that we found at the bottom of Gold Hill?
It was named after the botanical artist,
Claude Aubriet (1651 - 1742).

Citrullus Colocynthius

He worked in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris
and his paintings attracted the attention of
the influential Professor of Botany,
Joseph Pitton de Tournefort
who employed Aubriet to record the botanical discoveries
of his trip to the Greek Islands and the Levant.

Flower Study

I am trying to imagine
a scientific expedition to Armenia in 1702;
it must have been like stepping back into
the Middle Ages for the cultured Parisians.


Aubriet was appointed Royal Botanical Painter in 1707
and retired in 1735 but his meticulous detail
infuenced a whole new generation of artists.


You can see Aubriet's illustrations
in the RHS Lindley Library.
I shall go and admire them when I have a spare moment


Roll on that day.


Duyvken said...

Botanical illustrations are so beautiful and I love that, after a lifetime devoted to recording them, she had a plant named after her. Was she alive to enjoy it?

Unknown said...

I LOVE Botanical illustrations, So beautiful.

I can't imagine seeing all those places and drawing all those beautiful plants and flowers, in that time period no less!

Again you have satisfied my nerdy art historian side :)

Quinn said...

I once took a wonderful undergraduate seminar (could it *really* be twenty years ago?) in the art of bookmaking. It was taught in the Rare Book Room at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, which holds an extensive collection of herbals and botanical/natural history books. Spent many, many hours turning the pages, holding my breath in anticipation of the next illustration, the next description.
Oh my, what richness!
That experience has led to countless hours spent in other Rare Book Rooms and Special Collections. And whether the reading room is oak-tabled and leather-padded or gleaming with glass and chrome, crossing the threshold is one of the most magical things I know.
Thanks for the reminder, Alice. I've been away.

fifi said...

I had a try at doing Botanical illustrations, and it gave me a whole lot more respect for those pictures. What a divine way to spend your life?


In the Louvre it is possible to buy re-editioned etchings of botanical specimens, as well as grand flower arrangements. Did you see that when you were there, the print section? I could barely drag myself out last time I was there.

Unknown said...

So beautiful!

silverpebble said...

These are beautiful illustrations - I especially like the carnations. My grandfather had aubretia in his garden. When the sun shines on it it has a lovely peppery smell - whenever I catch a whiff I'm transported back 30 years and have the urge to wander off a find a tadpole in his pond or peep around his 'peepo' tree.

Allison said...

I was also going to say that I like the carnations. These are breathtaking. Thanks so much for sharing them!

Anonymous said...

Alice, You are a fount of knowledge. The illustrations are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

history of art one day and fishtank mishap another time...

I love visiting you.

Anonymous said...

I agree -- it must have been amazing.

Anonymous said...

I hereby declare MrsM Polymath 1st Class with knobs on